San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter will resemble New Orleans during an annual, colorful Mardi Gras celebration featuring live music, Samba dancers, stilt walkers and lots and lots of beads.
On Tuesday, from 5 p.m. to midnight, the 2017 Gaslamp Quarter Mardi Gras Masquerade Parade & Celebration will fill the streets of downtown. More than 20,000 beaded guests are expected to join in what the event website calls “the most extravagant parade we have offered in 23 years.”
The parade begins at 9 p.m. and spans the length of 5th Avenue, starting at E Street and culminating just past Market Street, where the grand finale goes down at 9:45 p.m.
The procession will include “art cars,” or decked out buses, covered in decorations like a giant pink unicorn, a giant flamingo and a large scarab beetle.
“Instead of stages we’re having huge colorful art cars, double decker buses transformed so you can’t even recognize they’re vehicles,” said Camille Riley, one of the event representatives.
Riley said DJ’s will be placed strategically around or within the vehicles, keeping the party going as the parade makes its way down the Gaslamp Quarter..
“We just wanted to do something different from the typical stages,” said Riley. “Something that’s never been done in San Diego before. We’ll still have lighting and lasers, but this will be out of the ordinary.”
Following in past traditions, Riley said the music for the block party will feature up-and-coming artists.
The well-known headliner, however, is Warren G., known for his mid-1990s hit, “Regulate,” featuring Snoop Dogg. Previous Mardi Gras celebrations in San Diego have featured performers including Snoop Dogg, Bone Thugs 'N' Harmony, Mix Master Mike, the Aggrolites and more.
Organizers encourage revelers to dress in their most festive Mardi Gras costumes; think traditional Fat Tuesday colors -- purple, gold and green – masks and feathers.
Tickets are available on the Gaslamp Quarter Mardi Gras website, with General Admission starting at $35 and VIP at $85. Prices increase as the event approaches. Military discounted tickets are also available.
“Any of the tickets will get you liquor and beer specials at 20 different locations, which are listed on our website,” said Riley.
A club pass add-on is available for $30, which allows entry into additional night clubs, after parties, plus welcome shots. Pre-purchased parking spots are also available for $10 each.
A Mardi Gras Big Easy Bites and Booze Tour is available for revelers looking to start the celebration early. Participants can indulge in complementary food and drinks from 20 participating bars, offered New Orleans style on Feb. 25, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The price is $25 from now until Feb. 24. Day-of-event ticket price is $30.