Lake Wales Mardi Gras Expected to Draw Tens of Thousands to City
Climactic Parade Happens Saturday, February 26
Last updated 1/26/2022 at 11:50am
The Carnival season has returned to Lake Wales, and the annual Mardi Gras event is once again expected to draw tens of thousands of spectators and participants to a zany and colorful parade, and a dynamic two day line-up of musical entertainment on the shores of Lake Wailes.
After a hiatus in 2021 due to the global pandemic, Mardi Gras organizers promise a strong rebound, with floats, beads, live music, food, and spirits. A Lake Wales tradition dating back to 1984, The Mardi Gras parade features multiple "Krewes" who create individual themes, floats, and costumes in an explosion of colorful street art.
The highlight and biggest draw is the Mardi Gras parade, which starts at 3:00 pm in the Historic Downtown District of Lake Wales and winds its way through Park and Stuart Avenues, eventually following Central Avenue to end at Lake Wailes Park. The parade boasts dozens of floats from the local Mardi Gras Krewes, media personalities, and other VIPs.
Although there are many local parties and events leading up to the big climax, the official event begins on Friday, February 25 at 6:00 pm when the annual "5-k Glow Run" begins for many, winding its way through city streets and along the shores of Lake Wailes.
At the same hour the Mardi Gras festival begins in Lake Wailes Park, centered around a main stage where "Almost There" will perform beginning at 7:30. At 9:00, B Haven will take the mainstage, entertaining until 11:00 pm. Along with the live music there will be children's activities and local food vendors, as well as beer and wine sales.
The Festivities pick back up on Saturday when Mitch Stewart opens the music at noon, followed by the Outta Hand Band at 1:15 and the Blake Free Band at 2:30. After a pause during which the parade will wind through the streets of the nearby downtown area, the music will resume, with Letters from Lucy, featuring Darra Tanner, opening at 4:30.
Other bands in Saturday's schedule include Blue Rooster Band at 5:45, Free Whiskey Band at 7:00, and Chas Kincaid at 8:30. Music will again continue until 11:00 pm. For more information visit lakewalesmardigras.com. Runners may register here for the 5-k Glow Run