MOBILE, Ala. -- The city that calls itself the “birthplace of Mardi Gras” kicked off its first real Mardi Gras celebration since 2020 after two years that were lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mobile's first big parade of the Mardi Gras season was held Friday night, as the Conde Cavaliers rolled through the city. With clear skies and nighttime temperatures in the 50s, a big crowd was in attendance to go after plastic beads, trinkets and Moon Pies.
Health officials had urged participants to be careful around large crowds to avoid spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, but many already have given up safety measures like wearing face masks and social distancing.
The city had last held Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday in 2020. Tens of thousands turned out when the city staged a parade in May 2021 to mark the commissioning of the Navy’s new ship the USS Mobile.
While New Orleans' celebration dwarfs festivities on the Alabama coast, Mobile's claim to fame is that it began celebrating Mardi Gras before New Orleans. More than 40 parades are planned in the Mobile area before festivities end with Fat Tuesday on March 1.