February is Mardi Gras Season!

Just because your boat is all wrapped up and winterized doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the river. There’s still a bunch of waterfront events in February and March that should be interesting enough to coax you out of the basement and into the “Big Room.” One of the big events this month is Mardi Gras.

For those that don’t know, Mardi Gras is known as the wild and flamboyant fiesta that makes even the most outrageous frat parties look like a tea social at Grandma’s house, and has roots as twisted as a Louisiana swamp vine. Its origins go way back to medieval Europe, the celebration kicked off as a last hurrah before the somber 40 days of Lent, a period of penance and deprivation leading up to Easter. The idea was probably, “Get all the hedonism out of your system while you can!”

The French brought the party to the swamps of Louisiana in the 17th century, where things got a Creole twist. Today, New Orleans is the epicenter of Mardi Gras celebrations, but the tradition has spread all over the US. Folks line up for parades just to see the madness and spectacle, and to collect the treasured beads that are tossed to them from the parade floats.

This year Mardi Gras has come to the Potomac River, in the form of two big events on February 10 – one at the DC Wharf and another in Colonial Beach. Here’s a bit about each:

Mardi Gras at The Wharf
This event starts at 3PM and features a parade down Wharf Street, starting near Blair Alley (near Shake Shack), and ending near Parker Row (near Hell’s Kitchen). Along the way, you can enjoy awesome drinks and food from places like Thrasher’s Rum, Cantina Bambina, and so much more!

After the parade, the celebration continues on with a dance party and live music by the Naptown Brass Band on District Pier Stage, Too Much Talent Band on Transit Pier Stage, The Experience Band & Show on Grove Stage, and Crush Funk Brass Band on the Boathouse Stage. At the end, there’s a massive fireworks show around 6:30PM. You probably don’t want to miss this. Get more details HERE!

Colonial Beach Mardi Gras Gala
This event happens at 6PM in downtown Colonial Beach at the Riverboat on the Potomac, and features music, dinner, dancing, silent auctions, and a great time! Dinner is catered by local Colonial Beach restaurant Fire Escape Grill (choice of steak, shrimp or veggie pasta) with tableside wine, followed by authentic King Cake, Beignets, and Cafe Au Lait. Music is provide by JAM: Jazz & A Mission. The dress is semi-formal, so you’ll want to break out your Sunday best! Get more info and tickets HERE!