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Galveston Blog:
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Make the most of your stay on Galveston Island with our insiders guide to exploring the area. Our monthly Staff Picks highlight all of the historic places, interactive tours, and family-friendly attractions that make our beachfront city so special. Read more to learn about our favorite places to drink, dine, shop, and explore.

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20 Jan

Celebrating 150 Years of Galveston’s Mardi Gras

Galveston’s first recorded Mardi Gras celebration actually began in 1867, but it wasn’t celebrated on a grand scale until 1871 when two rival Mardi Gras societies—the Knights of Momus and the Knights of Myth—both devised night parades and masked balls, trying to outdo each other with exquisite costumes and fanciful themes.

In the years that followed, Mardi Gras became more and more elaborate, attracting important figures and tourists from all over. By 1880, the street parades proved to be too expensive and elaborate, but masked balls stayed until the end of the century.

In 1985, a revival of a citywide Mardi Gras celebration was launched by native Galvestonian George P. Mitchell and his wife, Cynthia. It began with a grand opening of their elegant Tremont House hotel in the historic Strand District that you can still visit and stay at today! That same year also featured a mile-long Grand Night Parade with nine dazzling floats and hundreds of musicians in marching bands to the delight of 75,000 cheering spectators.

The Knights of Momus from 1871 were also revived that year and still continue donning elaborate costumes in the annual festival—which welcomed over 250,000 partygoers across the island last year!

Still looking to make your 2021 Galveston stay extra special? For the best in downtown Galveston accommodations, check into The Tremont House. Beachfront-lovers will appreciate the historic comfort of Hotel Galvez & Spa, and Harbor House Hotel & Marina at Pier 21 offers stunning harbor views.