When I think of family friendly events I can honestly say that the New Smyrna Beach Mardi Gras Parade didn’t exactly strike me as an event that Frugal Florida Fun would feature. Located right, smack-dab in the middle of the work week, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about being dragged out of the house 5 minutes after I got home from work, but I’m very glad that I gave into the Mrs!
While we were heading over to the beachside, I started thinking about the last time I actually went to an event where a parade was the star of the show. Last Christmas? Bike Week maybe? And to really top it off, other than at the Mouse, I don’t think I have ever seen a night parade that didn’t involve Christmas lights and boats. One thing was for sure, the New Smyrna Beach Mardi Gras parade would prove to be a memorable experience.
With almost anything that goes on at Flagler Avenue, parking is always a disaster. I don’t know why we didn’t follow our standard strategy of parking on the mainland and walking over, but instead we paid $5 for parking at a local church. The money went to charity and it was reasonable, so it wasn’t a big deal. We arrived at 6:15 or so, and the street began to fill up quickly. If you have never been to an event on Flagler Ave. before, it can be quite cramped and confined on this narrow beachside street. To my surprise, there was a bug section of the road that was barricaded off, which opened the are up quite nicely for pedestrians and strollers.
Although we got there with about 45 minutes to spare, there were some families that had camped out since about 5:00 or so for the best New Smyrna BEach Mardi Gras parade spots. Many folks chose to bring lawn chairs, and they were quite comfortable waiting. Usually during Flagler Ave. events, the street is filed with vendors selling everything from crafts, to hot dogs, but the food options were quite slim, as there wasn’t any room for food trucks. If you have time to spare, be sure to checkout Famous Philly’s right off of Flagler. They offer great food and they don’t jack up the prices for events. It’s right around the corner from the only gas station located on the street. This is a great place to grab some snacks or a few quick drinks. It sure beats the restaurant prices for sodas and adult beverages.
While technically it is illegal to have an open container in the street, many parade revelers had drinks with them. So long as they were respectful of the other patrons, there weren’t any issues. This brings me to my next point. What kind of family experience could the New Smyrna BEach Mardi Gras parade offer? Well for starters, there was no nudity that is commonly associated with the Girls Gone Wild theme of Mardi Gras at other locations. Any public drinking was tame, and held to a minimum and people actually went out of their way when they saw we had a little one! That’s right, during the parade, many folks actually came right up to my little guy who was right against the barrier and gave him his fair share of beads! In fact many of the kids on the street had the same great experience.
While checking out the New Smyrna Beach Mardi Gras parade, we saw some truly unique floats and everyone was having a great time! Even though it was dark out the floats had lights, music and more! Our little guy really got a kick out of it with so many sights and sounds to check out. The local community really out did themselves this year! We can’t wait to go back again next Fat Tuesday!
New Smyrna Beach Mardi Gras Parade Details:
Date: Fat Tuesday Annually
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Throughout the Flagler Ave. Beachside Area
Parking Recommendation: Buena Vista Park 163 North Causeway, NSB Fl 32169 Walk over the causeway right onto Flagler Ave. Parking here is FREE and you get the unique experience of walking over a draw bridge!