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Mardi Gras 2023 Brightens the Streets of Lake Wales

Annual Event Draws Crowds to City Center, Lake Wailes Park

Thousands of residents and visitors from across the state and nation gathered in downtown Lake Wales Saturday for the highlight of the local Mardi Gras celebrations, enjoying a zany and colorful extravaganza of performance art.

More than a dozen colorful Krewes parades floats and costumes while tossing more than 100,000 "throws" to the gathered throngs of celebrants.

The parade featured the crowd-pleasing all-female Krewe of ZaZu, bringing cheers from the crowd with their entertaining routine while dressed as dancing cakes. ZaZu also displayed the inflatable "Queen Shinola" they claimed to have "kidnapped" from the Loyal Order of Wild Shiners, renewing a tradition begun in the 1980's. It was unclear as to whether any ransom demand had been made, and the Shiners were too busy throwing beads to offer any comment.

The Lake Ashton Saints offered a bit of traditional Mardi Gras as they marched to Dixieland music with a large contingent of "cheerleaders."

The Krewe of Kaos was joined by the Krewe of Pegasus, Aphrodite, Rex, the Loyal Order of Wild Shiners, Webber, and more in the dazzling procession. You can view more parade photos in our Photos Section, also found on the top menu bar.

The parade was followed by many hours of bands on the mainstage at Lake Wailes Park, capping a two-day music festival.

The eleven days of local celebrations will end this week on Fat Tuesday as the Krewe of Pegasus wraps up the event with their own masquerade party at the Y'all Come Back Saloon on SR 60 East. That celebration will begin at 7:00 pm.

The public is invited to attend all the Mardi Gras events.

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