(Click READ MORE to see video from the parade!)
Mardi Gras 2010, or more aptly named Mardi Gras at the Beach was put on by the Krewe of Dominique Youx. This monumental event far exceeded expectations of local officials, event organizers and locals alike. Last year the event was huge despite poor weather and threatening rain. This year, with cloudy skies, a peeking sun and chilly weather, the event was even MUCH larger.
Held at Pier Park on Panama City Beach the estimates are around 15,000 to 20,000 people in attendance, not just in Pier Park, but up and down Front Beach Road starting at the Towne of Seahaven. There were people everywhere, lining the streets in droves for more than a mile.
Just after 2 pm, before the parade made it to the entrance of Pier Park, there were reports of a traffic jam on Back Beach Road east from Pier Park all the way to Clara Avenue. The parking lots at Pier Park were packed full, people were parking in the field next to Pier Park and Aaron Bessant Park was half full of cars.
With over 60 floats in line, floats ranged from full blown pirate ship look-a-likes to mere flat-beds adorned with a sound system and a zydeco band jamming along the route. The Krewe of Dominique Youx had several floats and the parade lasted more than two hours while spectators enjoyed them passing by on the route that ran from the Towne of Seahaven, down Front Beach Road, down the main stretch of Pier Park and through the north side of the property.
The crowds of people were out en masse, there were gobs of people everywhere. This year’s festivities differed from last years in that last year there was only a parade, this year the event was turned into a whole weekend of celebrations. With the Pier Park streets closed, food and merchandise vendors and a full blown stage with bands set up, this was truly a whole weekend celebration.
Compared to last year, this event was enormous. Compared to the fact that before last year we never had a place to do stuff like this, this year’s Mardi Gras celebration was momentous. I never cease to be amazed how many people have an interest in these events. The sheer number of people that were gathered together as a community make you wonder just where did all these people come from? The parking lot was peppered with license plates from Georgia, Alabama, Tennesee, Kentucky and a very fair number of plates from Ontario.
Mardi Gras at the Beach 2010 was a huge success.