Crowds lined Wilson Blvd last night to celebrate Fat Tuesday while taking in the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade.
Bands played, the D.C. Rollergirls skated through and kids scrambled for beads with as much enthusiasm as the adults. Representatives from local businesses and organizations also entertained the masses while riding or walking alongside the many colorful floats.
Photos by Jason Dixson Photography
The parade — the largest in the D.C. area — will run up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to Washington Boulevard. Several significant road closures will be in effect as a result. Parade-goers are being encouraged to walk or take Metro.
If you’re looking for something to do before or after the parade (other than watching the State of the Union address) here are a few local Fat Tuesday-themed happenings that might be of interest.
- Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) is hosting a “block party” outside the store starting at 5:00 p.m.
- Whitlow’s (2854 Wilson Blvd) is offering hurricanes, drink specials and a special menu
- Wilson Tavern (2403 Wilson Blvd) is hosting a Mardi Gras party with specials and free beads
- Iota Club and Cafe (2832 Wilson Blvd) is hosting a free concert by The Grandsons starting at 8:30 p.m. The event includes free “gumbo shots.”
- RiRa Irish Pub (2915 Wilson Blvd) is hosting a live band starting at 7:00 p.m., plus offering $3 drink specials until 9:00 and “beads all over the place”
- Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd) is hosting a Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Party “all day long.” DJ Chris Styles will perform, specials will be available and free masquerade masks and beads will be provided.
- Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (3022 Woodlawn Ave, Falls Church) is hosting a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Floats are getting prepped and beads are being gathered for Clarendon’s annual Mardi Gras parade next Tuesday, February 12.
Thousands of residents are expected to line Wilson Blvd from N. Barton Street to Washington Blvd, where the parade will travel starting at 8:00 p.m. Around 50 businesses, restaurants and organizations are slated to march in the parade.
Because of road closures and lack of parking, parade attendees are encouraged to use Metro. The Courthouse and Clarendon stations are located near the parade route.
Street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-558-2222.
The following restrictions will be in effect:
- Wilson Boulevard will be closed from Veitch Street to Barton Street 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Adams Street and Wayne Street will be closed between Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Boulevard will be closed from Barton Street to Irving Street from 7:45-9:30 p.m.
- Courthouse Road at N. 15th Street — Bayou Bakery will be hosting a block party from 5:00-8:00 p.m., with setup beginning at 3:00 p.m. and cleanup ending at 10:00 p.m.
The parade — the largest in the D.C. area — will kick of at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, and run up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to Washington Boulevard. The parade will be preceded by a pre-party at Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) at 5:00 p.m.
“Participating in the parade is a great way to have fun — participants can wear masks, dress completely inappropriately, and throw stuff at people,” parade organizer Clarendon Alliance said on its website. “What’s not to like?”
Fifty organizations participated in the 2012 Mardi Gras parade and the Clarendon Alliance is hoping to attract even more participants this year.
I-66 HOV Restrictions Lifted — To ease congestion on arterial routes, which might be affected by traffic signal outages from Friday’s storm, VDOT lifted the HOV requirement for I-66 inside the Beltway during the morning rush hour.
Federal Gov’t Under Unscheduled Leave Policy — With nearly a quarter of all electricity customers in the D.C. area without power, the federal government is operating under a Unscheduled Leave/Unscheduled Telework Policy for today, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
Tejada Still Thinking About Streetcar — Walter Tejada says he still hasn’t decided whether he supports the planned Columbia Pike streetcar line. Tejada says he’s concerned about the streetcar’s impact on affordable housing. ”Transit-oriented development has been cruel” to low income people in Arlington, Tejada is quoted as saying. [Arlington Mercury]
Bolivian Parade Held — Despite the sweltering heat and continuing storm cleanup, Saturday’s AGROBOL Bolivian heritage parade was held as scheduled on Four Mile Run Drive. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
Bishop O’Connell Grad Selected in NBA Draft — Bishop O’Connell High School standout Kendall Marshall has been drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA Draft. Marshall, a point guard, is being touted as a possible replacement to Steve Nash. [Washington Post, Bleacher Report]
Citizens Ask for Farmhouse Restoration – A group of residents is urging the Arlington County Board to spend some $1 million to restore the county-owned Reevesland farmhouse and convert it into a nature and sustainability learning center. At the moment, the county is attempting to find a commercial tenant to foot the bill for the pricey restoration. [Sun Gazette]
Closures for Parade This Weekend — Parts of Shirlington Road, Four Mile Run Drive and S. Walter Reed Drive will be closed Saturday afternoon to make way for the “Agrobol Parade.” [Arlington County Police Department]
Library Honored for Environmental Innovation — Arlington Public Library has been named the Urban Libraries Council’s 2012 “Top Innovator for Sustainability.” [Library Blog]
AIM Awarded for ‘Overall Excellence’ — Arlington Independent Media has received an award for “Overall Excellence in Public Access” in the 2012 Hometown Media Competition. AIM won in the category for public access stations with budgets over $650,000. It’s the eighth time AIM has won the award since 1990. “Overall Excellence” award recipients in other categories included two local operations: Fairfax County Government Channel 16 and Montgomery Community Media. [Alliance for Community Media]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
Clarendon’s annual Mardi Gras parade marched up Wilson Boulevard last night, to the delight of hundreds of paradegoers.
Among the those marching in this year’s parade were the Ballou High School Band, Washington Nationals mascot Screech, the D.C. Rollergirls, and the all-women, Afro-Brazilian/samba-reggae percussion band Batala Washington. Local businesses, churches, nonprofits and political parties also took part.
Photos by Erin Schwartz Sutherland
Happy Fat Tuesday — It’s Fat Tuesday, the traditional day of feasting (or partying) before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. To celebrate the occasion, the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade will be held tonight, starting at 8:00 p.m. See our list of local Mardi Gras happenings for additional festivities around Arlington.
Three Arrested After Ballston Fight — Three suspects were arrested following a fight near the Ballston Metro station Monday evening. The fight broke out in the area of Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street. Fairfax Drive was partially blocked by police vehicles following the incident. Additional details were not immediately available.
Arlington Man Killed in Loudoun County — An Arlington man was killed when a deer came crashing through the windshield of the SUV he was riding in Saturday night. The freak accident happened on Route 9 in Loudoun County around 7:30 p.m. Police say a Toyota Prius first hit the deer, launching it in the air. The deer came down on the SUV, killing 26-year-old Rodolfo Ruiz Villatoro of Arlington. [MyFoxDC]
Legislators Accept Trips and Gifts — Among the corporate gifts and travel accepted by local state lawmakers last year: a $8,796 trip to France (Del. David Englin) and $400 circus tickets (Del. Patrick Hope). [Sun Gazette]
Arlington’s main event is the Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade. The free event starts at 8:00 p.m. More than 40 local groups will march in the event, some with floats and the quintessential beads. The parade will run along Wilson Blvd from N. Barton St to N. Irving St. The following street closures will be in effect:
- Wilson Blvd from N. Veitch St to N. Barton St will be closed from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Adams St and Wayne St, between Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd, will be closed from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Blvd from Barton St to Irving St will be closed from 7:45-9:30 p.m.
In addition, street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. Parade-goers are encouraged to use Metro.
If standing outside for a parade isn’t your style, perhaps some of these other options will pique your interest:
- Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Rd) promises a celebration of Bourbon Street proportions. The Lundi Gras Party and Dinner kicks things off on Monday at 6:00 p.m. An all-inclusive four course dinner is offered, along with jazz music. On Tuesday, the party starts at 5:00 p.m. with “Parade Route Fare” like gumbo, muff-a-lottas, crawfish etouffee and oysters. Various ticket options are available for food, alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks. Contact the restaurant for ticket options at 703-243-2410 or online.
- Union Jack’s (671 N. Glebe Rd.) is turning the obligatory Mardi Gras bead throwing into a contest to see who can collect the most. Prizes and specials are available throughout the night, and the evening’s grand prize will be a New Orleans trip.
- You don’t have to have a night out to enjoy some king cake. Pick up one of the fruity, colorful concoctions from Heidelberg Bakery (2150 N. Culpeper St) and enjoy hunting for the plastic baby in the comfort of your home. The bakery is taking advance orders.
- Maybe you can’t wait until Tuesday to begin celebrating. In that case, Lucy’s ARL (2620 S. Shirlington Rd) may be the answer, with its N’awlins-style Mardi Gras on Saturday. Starting at 8:00 p.m., jambalaya, oyster po’ boys and a crawfish boil will be accompanied by festive drinks and music. Free pool will be offered all night, and bead contests take place every half an hour. Tickets can be purchased online.
- Piola (1550 Wilson Blvd) is also starting the festivities early, in addition to focusing on Rio instead of New Orleans. Its 5th Annual Carnival Party takes place on Saturday starting at 9:00 p.m. Brazil’s national cocktails, caipirinhas and caipiroskas, will be served while a live band gets people moving to samba music. Feathers, costumes and masks are encouraged. Contact the restaurant for reservations.
- A number of churches mark Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, with traditional pancake suppers. Because in ancient times people used up all the sugar, fat, flour and eggs in their homes to observe fasting during Lent, many made pancakes. One of the churches having a pancake feast is St. John’s Episcopal Church (415 S. Lexington St). Everyone is welcome from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under 6. A food donation of cereal is also requested. St. George’s Church (915 N. Oakland St) will also hold a pancake supper. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 2-12 or $15 for a family.
The parade — featuring homegrown floats, Mardi Gras beads, and people and animals in costume — will take place on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 8:00 p.m. The parade route will take marchers up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street.
Groups expected to participate this year include the Ballou High School Band, the Washington Nationals and the D.C. Rollergirls. The all-women, Afro-Brazilian/samba-reggae percussion band Batala Washington, meanwhile, will serve as the parade’s new drum corps.
Groups can still register to take part in the parade through next Tuesday, Feb. 14.
“Normally we have a lot of participants sign up at the last minute, so we know we’ll have a lot more entries by parade night,” said Matt Hussman, Executive Director of the Clarendon Alliance, which organizes the parade. “We think it is going to be a great parade, and we hope lots and lots of people come out to enjoy the spectacle.”
Missed last night’s festivities in Clarendon? After the jump are our photos from the 2011 Clarendon Mardi Gras/St. Patrick’s Day parade on Wilson Boulevard.
If you’re heading to the Clarendon Mardi Gras/St. Patrick’s Day parade tonight, you might also be considering heading out to the bars afterward. Here are a few places where you can find some festive Fat Tuesday fun within walking distance of the parade.
Ragtime (1345 North Courthouse Road) — Ragtime is holding its 10th annual Mardi Gras party tonight. The restaurant is serving a special Cajun menu all day, Hurricanes and Cyclones are on special, and the Le Bon Temps Krew will be playing New Orleans jazz music from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. And yes, there will be beads.
Iota Club & Cafe (2832 Wilson Blvd) — Iota is hosting a parade viewing party on its front porch. After the parade, local southern acoustic rock outfit Brother Shamus will take the stage. Admission is $5 after the parade, free before.
Bayou Bakery (1515 North Courthouse Road) – The Louisiana-themed eatery in Courthouse is decked out in purple, gold and green for the holiday. Tonight the restaurant will be holding a “Bayou Gras” celebration with $7 plates including Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya, Crab Boil “Peppa Weenies” and Muff-a-Lottas. Abita is on tap at Bayou Bakery, but last we checked they were sold out of homemade King Cakes.
Screwtop Wine Bar (1025 North Fillmore Street) — For those looking for a more low-key atmosphere before or after the parade, Screwtop will be serving $7 Mardi Gras mimosas throughout the evening.
Four Courts/Ri-Ra/Kitty O’Shea’s — These Irish pubs along Wilson Boulevard won’t be holding any pre-St. Patrick’s Day specials or entertainment to coincide with the parade. However, each says they will be offering their normal Tuesday specials, which means beer as low as $2.50.
The parade is scheduled to kick off at 8:00 p.m., but motorists may want to make note of some road closures that will take effect before the parade.
Wilson Boulevard will be closed from Veitch Street to Barton Street starting at 6:45 p.m. to allow parade floats to line up. Adams Street and Wayne Street will both be closed between Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard at 6:45 p.m., for the same reason.
At 7:30 p.m., Wilson will be blocked off along the parade route from Barton Street to Irving Street.
Adams and Wayne Streets will reopen at 8:00 p.m., while Wilson will reopen after the parade concludes, around 9:30 p.m.
In addition to the road closures, there will also be parking restrictions in the area, marked by temporary ‘no parking’ signs. County officials are encouraging parade-goers to take the Metro to Courthouse or Clarendon instead of driving.
Last year, the Clarendon Mardi Gras parade became a St. Patrick’s Day parade due to a snow-related postponement.
This year, the two holidays are close enough together that organizers are planning to make the parade a joint Mardi Gras/St. Patrick’s Day affair.
The Clarendon Mardi Gras/St. Pat’s parade will place take this year on Fat Tuesday, March 8. Further details are still in the works.
(St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday, March 17.)
Last night’s Clarendon St. Patrick’s Day (eve) parade had it all: bagpipers, kids dancing, Mardi Gras beads, roller derby girls, a leprechaun on a unicorn, a Republican congressional candidate, white guys in sombreros, and — of course — drag queens. If you missed it, don’t worry… we took plenty of photos.
Check out the photos after the jump.