With Fat Tuesday so early this year, the official parade schedule starts in January. In all, 21 parades are set to roll this weekend in a four-parish area, an all-time record — in fact, more parades than on Mardi Gras weekend.
“Carnival on the Square,” a series of pre-parade concerts in Lafayette Square across from Gallier Hall, starts at 4 p.m. Friday with the Pinettes Brass Band and Cory Henry & Treme Funktet.
The Krewe of Oshun kicks off the parades with its 20th annual presentation, titled “Sea of Beauty,” at 6 p.m. on the Uptown route. Oshun’s signature throw is a fan. Grand marshals include Juan Kincaid and Kristi Coleman of Fox 8.
Following Oshun is the 43rd annual Cleopatra procession, titled “Cleopatra Rocks the Big Easy.” This female club moved from the West Bank in 2013 and nearly doubled its membership to 675. The ladies toss headscarves, pompoms and lighted bracelets. Look for 20 floats and nearly 70 units and wave at the captain, who founded the club in 1972.
In Metairie, Family Gras starts with entertainment by Paris Avenue at 5 p.m. and Dr. John at 7 p.m.
This year’s 15th annual Excalibur procession in Metairie rolls at 7 p.m. with 23 floats and the theme, “A Knight Remembers.” The signature collars and costumes, which the captain designed, are highlights of the parade. The club’s 275 men and women will hand out individually decorated wooden shields. New throws this year include wooden nickels.
Following Excalibur will be the second parade of the African-American Krewe of Athena, which promises 300 members aboard 19 floats with the theme “The Krewe of Athena Tops That.” Their signature throw is a Fedora hat.
In Mandeville at 7 p.m., the 370-member Krewe of Eve rolls with its anniversary procession titled “30 Years of Fun & Games.” Look for the 610 Stompers and several out-of-state bands. Eve’s members create unique krewe costumes by decorating sweatshirts. Try to catch the 30th anniversary glitter apple medallion beads.
To can start your planning, check out parade routes and schedules here.