The annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras parade is back this year after a snow-induced hiatus in 2014.
The parade is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 17, on N. Barton Street. About 40 floats and parade participants have already signed up to take part in the hourlong event, which will run up Wilson Blvd to N. Irving Street.
A snowstorm on Mardi Gras forced the Clarendon Alliance — which organizes the event — to push it back to St. Patrick’s Day. Yet another storm that March forced the 16th annual parade to be canceled altogether.
“Normally it’s a rain or shine type deal,” Clarendon Alliance Executive Director Matt Hussmann said. “But the snow banks were so big on the sidewalks, nobody could watch the parade.”
This year, if the weather cooperates, Hussmann said the “family-friendly” parade should continue to be the biggest and best-attended Mardi Gras parade in the D.C. area. The Ballou High School marching band is back, the Louisiana State University alumni group will again have a big presence, and beads and candy will again be flying around.
“The parade’s got a great feel to it,” Hussmann said. “It’s really a local event. The people in the parade are businesses people go to. Everybody’s yelling and waving and dressed up and they’ve got costumes. The floats are really creative. There’s a lot of music, they’re throwing beads and candy. It’s just home-grown fun.”
Before the parade, Courthouse’s Bayou Bakery will be hosting a “Bayou Gras Block Party.” The New Orleans-themed bakery, at 1515 N. Courthouse Road, is offering $30 tickets for three cajun dishes — like jambalaya and chicken and sausage gumbo — $20 tickets for Mardi Gras-themed cocktails and $15 tickets for three pours of Abita Amber Ale. Children under 12 years old will get a free mac and cheese.
The block party will run from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets can be bought online or at Bayou Bakery.