Alternative Mardi Gras Events in Galveston

Mardi Gras! Galveston has been celebrated in this historic beach town for more than 150 years.

This year will be a bit different. Citing safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Galveston officials have decided to put a hold on letting the good times roll. Most Mardi Gras! Galveston events – parades, concerts and parties – have been canceled. That doesn’t mean you can’t head to the island and participate in some alternative events and activities. Here are a few to consider:

mardi gras celebration

pictured: Mardi Gras in Galveston


Mardi Gras enthusiasts can walk, bike, or drive through Galveston’s neighborhoods to get a glimpse of festively decorated homes during the first Krewe of Saints House Floats Tour. Participating homes will be on view from Friday, Feb. 5 through Tuesday, Feb. 16. On Saturday, Feb. 13 from 5-7 p.m., homeowners and their friends and neighbors will be on hand to dole out beads to viewers.

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mardi gras mask
The Bryan Museum Mardi Gras exhibit features paintings, invitations, masks and more.

2. The Bryan Museum Presents Galveston's Mardi Gras: A Retrospective

The Bryan Museum brings this special exhibit to its halls from Jan. 30 through Feb. 28. With support from its partner, Mitchell Historic Properties, the museum will showcase items from the more than 150 years of Mardi Gras celebrations that have taken place in Galveston, home of the third-largest Mardi Gras in the country. Experience the pomp and revelry from lavish masked balls and torchlit parades that marked this celebration for more than a century. The exhibit includes custom doubloons, paintings, invitations, masks, commemorative posters, and photographs.

king cake sunflower bakery
King Cake from Sunflower Bakery & Café

3. King Cakes in Galveston

King cake is a Mardi Gras tradition spanning more than 150 years. Thought to be brought to Louisiana from France, the cakes began as rings of dough with little decoration. The decoration includes sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors, purple, signifying justice; green, for faith, and gold for power. Many bakeries, including some here in Galveston, have gotten creative with their recipes – adding tasty fillings and creamy frostings to the cakes. Typically, king cakes have a tiny baby inside. The lucky recipient who gets the slice of cake with the baby in it gets to host the next king cake party. Take part in this delicious Mardi Gras tradition when you get a king cake from one of these island bakeries:

mardi gras mask
Homemade mask from the Galveston Arts Center.

4. Make Your Own Mask with Galveston Arts Center

This Mardi Gras season, bring the celebration home! Pick up a pre-made mask kit from the Galveston Arts Center or use their self-serve station to fill a bag with your own choices of feathers, sequins, ribbons, beads, and other embellishments. Kits are only $10 each. Swing by! They're located on The Strand and are open 12-5 pm, Wednesday - Sunday.

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The Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (GICVB) is the official destination marketing organization for Galveston Island, Texas.