Crescent City Vibe Fills the Long Beach Mardi Gras Festival & Parade

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The Long Beach Mardi Gras festivalFestival brings family friendly entertainment and activities to locations throughout Rainbow Harbor

For the second year, The Long Beach Mardi Gras Festival brings the spirit, taste and sounds of New Orleans to the heart of downtown Long Beach. The day-long fest—Saturday, March 5, 2011—will again be set against the beautiful backdrop of Rainbow Harbor.

This year’s parade, with the theme Rollin’ and Strollin’ Around Long Beach, is the centerpiece for the overall Long Beach Mardi Gras event, bringing entertainment and activities for all ages to locations throughout Rainbow Harbor. The parade starts at 3 pm at the Aquarium of the Pacific and rolls along the esplanade around the Harbor and ends at Shoreline Village.

Last year’s parade saw over 300 participants representing all different parts of the community, wearing costumes or masks and some with themes or music, throwing beads to the crowd and dancing their way along the parade route. Before the parade and starting at noon, there will be all kinds of free entertainment for kids and families around Rainbow Harbor, including mask-making, face painting, rides and kid’s entertainment.

Most of the activities during Long Beach Mardi Gras will be held at The Pike Kids Zone on the lawn along Shoreline Drive and other pre-parade activities such as dancing and music and a shrimp-eating contest starting at 2 pm at Bubba Gump.

Immediately following the Mardi Gras parade, Shoreline Village is blocking off part of their parking lot to host the “Party Gras!” concert – an event full of dance and music performances headlined by local group OO Soul. Along with other bands, there will be a beer garden, Louisiana-inspired food, dance performances, a costume contest and lots and lots of beads!

Mardi Gras Royalty in Long Beach

Community Leaders Blair Cohn and Michelle Steilen (aka Estro Jen) were crowned 2011King and Queen of the  Long Beach Mardi Gras by last year’s Grand Marshall, Justin Rudd. In the coronation ceremony held Thursday, February 16 at Bubba Gump restaurant, Mr. Rudd passed along the 100-year old crown and the royal robe he used to lead last year’s parade.

As King and Queen, Blair and Michelle will lead the Long Beach Mardi Gras Parade and reign over the all-day festival. Blair is the Executive Director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association and the champion of the Bixby Knolls First Fridays. Michelle is the owner of Moxi Skate Shop on 4th Street Retro Row and co-founder of the Long Beach Roller Derby.

“Blair and Michelle are perfect choices to represent this community festival,” said Festival Director Jeff Williams, “the work Blair has done to build up First Fridays and likewise Michelle for the Long Beach Roller Derby are exactly the type of community building we want to celebrate with our event.”

The Long Beach Mardi Gras festival is Saturday, March 5th, 2011 from Noon-6pm. Event details and more information on the festival is online at

Long Beach Mardi Gras Festival and Parade is partially supported by grants from Downtown Long Beach Associates and Arts Council for Long Beach and partial proceeds from the event will benefit the nonprofit Pacific Sailing and Maritime Center.


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