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Mardi Gras Time
February 22nd, 2012 2:27 PM

Soon after the holidays, a different kind of party is celebrated in Central Florida each year.  From late January to early April, there are lots of special events to consider and enjoy.

 The Gaspirilla Pirate Festival and parade is held in Tampa the end of January, with the same kind of beads, music and celebrating as a Mardi Gras, except the theme is an "invasion" by Jose Gaspar and his crew arriving in Tampa Bay on a pirate ship.  The crew thows beads, coins and other items while shooting blank pistols from floats during the parade to downtown Tampa, where the mayor hands over the key of the city to the pirate captain.  It is a fun time held each year, with marching bands and many beautiful floats participating in the festivities.

Spring is a time for the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but Central Florida also celebrates each year.  Universal Studios Orlando celebrates Mardi Gras from Feb. 11th to April 14th each Sat. and other select nights, with live concerts, parades and bead throwing, french quarter food & music, and lots more.  This has been an annual event for many years and becomes more popular all the time.   City Walk is bustling with activity and there are special shirts and Mardi Gras memorabilia to add to the excitement of Universal Theme Parks.

In addition, Lake Wales has a community tradition that began many years ago.  The Lake Wales Mardi Gras started as a tribute to the late owner of  a 5-star restaurant catering to New Orleans style cuisine.  Today crowds pack into downtown to enjoy live music, vendors with food and New Orleans-style crafts & gifts, and of course, a colorful Mardi Gras parade.  It is not intended to be on the same grande scale as Universal, but it is a fun time for local residents and visitors to relax and enjoy the food and entertainment.  So, on a quieter scale, you can still enjoy the Mardi Gras! 

No need to go all the way to New Orleans to celebrate the Mardi Gras.   We have it right here in the Orlando area! 

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Posted by Barbara Doeringer on February 22nd, 2012 2:27 PMPost a Comment

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