Bead season arrives this week with Orange Mardi Gras
Last updated 2/7/2023 at 7:15pm
The streets of downtown Orange will be crowded on Saturday, February 11, as kids and adults watch colorful lighted floats and catch shiny beads during the annual Mardi Gras parade.
The parade is the end of a variety of festivities that kick off on Thursday evening with a free Together Thursday concert sponsored by Dow and the United Way of Orange County.
The performance at the City of Orange Riverside Pavilion off Simmons Drive will feature the Spazmatics, an cover band of the '80s music people grew up to hearing. The concert will begin a 6:30 p.m., but families are invited to come early and bring chairs. Food trucks will be set up selling a variety of dishes and yard games will be available for friendly competition.
People should bring lawn chairs and coolers will be allowed.
Weekend activities from the City of Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau begin Friday night at the Boat Ramp's Riverside Pavilion with a free concert by Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band at 7 p.m.
Mayor Larry Spears Jr. will start the program at 6:45 p.m. with a special communitywide presentation of the Key to the City to Gary Stelly, the longtime owner of KOGT radio, which closed at the end of 2021. Stelly is being honored for his years of service to the community.
The free Mardi Gras on the Sabine Festival will begin on Saturday at the Boat Ramp and Riverside Pavilion. Gates will open at 10 a.m. A DJ will provide music and there will be children's activities. The Munchkin Parade with kids decorating wagons, bikes, scooters and other kid-size transportation will begin a 1 p.m. The kids and their "floats" will circle around a crowd and with the kids tossing beads and trinkets.
The 19th Annual Krewe of Krewes Parade with the more elaborate floats will begin at 6:30 p.m. The parade is sponsored by the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce along with the city.
This year's King and Queen are Precinct 1 County Commissioner Johnny Trahan and his wife, Becky. Other parade royalty this year are Adam Conrad and Jody Chesson from Krewe du Bayou, Allan and Tricia Villery from Krewe de Onyx, Mayor Larry Spears and wife, Trish, from Krewe Meilleurs Amis, and Skipper and Gina Yeaman from Krewe C'est Bon.
All the royalty will show off their customed-designed costumes that debuted two weeks earlier at the annual krewes ball.
This year's route will be different from the past few years. The floats will stage at the LSCO area off Front Street and First Street. The parade will start on Front and travel west to Fifth Street. The parade will then go a block south on Fifth before turning west on Division Avenue by the Riverwalk and Riverfront Pavilion. It will continue west on Division past the Orange County Courthouse and Heritage House Museum to Tenth Street. At Tenth, it will turn north to Green Avenue.
Once on Green, the parade will travel east past the Chamber office, First Presbyterian Church, the Stark Foundation buildings, and LSCO buildings to Simmons Drive. At Simmons, the parade will turn and go to the Boat Ramp area.