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Mardi Gras Season in Full Swing in Lake Wales

Big Parade, Music Festival, Final "Ball" Still Ahead

The two-and-a-half weeks of the 40th annual Lake Wales Mardi Gras festivities are rapidly approaching their climax as hundreds of "krewe" members prepare for the combined parade on Saturday, February 10. The series of masquerade parties and musical events mark the days of the pre-Lenten "Carnival" season here.

Last week's kickoff party, hosted by the Krewe Renaissance, will be followed by the Saturday, Feb. 3 Blacklight Ball sponsored by the Loyal Order of Wild Shiners. Friday night saw a reception at the Lake Wales Arts Center marking the 40 years of history the event has accumulated, with veterans of the start of the festival on hand to regale guests with humorous stories of the antics of the early years.

The "krewes." Private parade organizations, form the heart of the event, drawing hundreds of participants who spend weeks preparing costumes, floats, and other elements of the festival. Several, including the Wild Shiners, Aphrodite, ZaZu, and Rex, have been in existence for the entire 40 years of the Carnival. Others have come and gone, but a current line-up of 16 krewes, plus other local organizations, are promising a fun-filled parade on Saturday, Feb. 10.

The parade day will be preceded by a free Friday night music festival at Lake Wailes Park. The music will continue there throughout the day on Saturday, both before and after the 3 p.m. parade.

The event reaches its climax on Fat Tuesday, February 13, when the Krewe of Pegasus hosts a masquerade ball, marking the end of the season.

Mardi Gras Offers a Full Schedule of Events

Friday, Jan. 26 – Krewe of Pegasus Spaghetti Dinner 4 – 6 p.m. 209 East Sessoms Ave., drive through pick-up

Saturday, Jan. 27 – Krewe Renaissance Mardi Gras Party with the Plank Spankers begins 7 p.m. at The Spot, 16905 US 27, south of Hunt Bros. Rd., $10 advance/$12 at the door. For advance tickets phone 863-632-1504.

Friday, Feb. 2 – 6 p.m to 9 p.m. - 40 Years of Mardi Gras History Pre-Party at Lake Wales Arts Center, 1099 SR 60 East – no cover charge.

Saturday, Feb. 3 – The Wild Shiner Blacklight Ball, 7 p.m. at Grove House Grill, 1475 N. Scenic Hwy, Babson Park, featuring the Joe Willy Band and the Free Whiskey band, $20 person, $45 couple.

Thursday, Feb. 8 – The "Mardi Gras Jeep Invasion," Orange Ave. and Scenic Highway, downtown, 5:30-9 p.m. offers prizes to the best-decorated vehicles, $40 entry includes meal, prizes, and photo of vehicle, hosted by Wales Pointe Restaurant and Jessie C Photography.

Friday, Feb. 9 – The Mardi Gras "5K Glow Run" begins on the shores of Lake Wailes along the popular Lake Wailes Trail. Pre-registration is required.

Friday, Feb. 9 – The Mardi Gras Music Festival begins at 6 p.m. in Lake Wailes Park, 33 East Park Ave.

Saturday, Feb. 10 - Mardi Gras Music Festival 10 a.m.- 11 p.m. in Lake Wailes Park, 33 East Park Ave.

Saturday, Feb. 10 - Mardi Gras Parade begins at 3 p.m. on Stuart Avenue downtown.

Tuesday, Feb. 13 – Krewe of Pegasus Fat Tuesday party at 7 p.m., Grove House Grill, 1475 N. Scenic Hwy, Babson Park, will be the final event of the season.


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