Phoenix has never had a reputation as a Mardi Gras destination but the Downtown Ambassadors are out to change that.
Last year, the helpful folks in orange recruited friends and residents to build floats and walk in a Mardi Gras parade.
Community response was overwhelming.
Not only did a Mardi Gras parade take shape, but Downtown businesses bought in and before the Ambassadors knew it, they’d launched a full-fledged festival. CityScape came on board as host and bars joined the Mardi Crawl nightlife tour.
When event night came, the Ambassadors were hoping to attract 300 people. Over 2,000 showed up, many dressed to impress in Mardi Gras masks and costumes.
This year the Ambassadors are working hard to make the Mardi Gras Parade, Festival, and Pub Crawl, which goes down Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., even better. CityScape has returned as host, bands like Bad Cactus Brass Band, Rhythm Is Life Steel Band, John Henry’s Revenge, DJ Shock, and The Hey Boyz are providing live entertainment, while food trucks like Mama Toledo’s and Jamburrito Cajun Grille have promised to keep the crowd fed. In addition, Copper Blues Live will be running a beer garden on the plaza, and a variety of vendors will be on hand selling their Mardi Gras goods.
The Festival starts at 4 p.m., with the parade weaving through Downtown starting at 5:30. Pub Crawl ($8 in advance, $10 day of) trolleys depart from Central and Jefferson at 9 p.m.
Interested in being a vendor or marching in the parade? Contact Sam Jackson at 602.744.6415.
All the information you’ll ever need about Downtown Mardi Gras is available here and here.
See you Saturday!