Brace yourself for the annual return of Gaslamp Mardi Gras in San Diego.
Do 2009 Mardi Gras DiscoverSD Insider style with Club VIP. Gaslamp Mardi Gras Club VIP tickets get you into the infamous Gaslamp block party in addition to the front of the line access, with no cover, at 9 participating San Diego clubs and over $500 of special treats all night long - get your VIP tickets here.
It's been a long grueling year awaiting its return. It's the only holiday made specifically for drinking, celebrating, carousing, and mutually consenting adults. That's right friends; it's Mardi Gras time!
Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday"), is the day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday (in western Christendom) is the first day of Lent. "Lent" is the period before Easter where fasting, prayer, and self denial are the vogue while indulging in sinful acts, fun and happiness are otherwise discouraged. That said, Mardi Gras is the last possible chance to get it all out of your system before your month and a half self inflicted prohibition. That's the theory, but to most of us it's just a great excuse to hold the biggest street party on the planet.
New Orleans, Louisiana is the undisputed King Rex of Mardi Gras; however it is celebrated throughout the world. In Brazil, it is closely tied to Carnival as well as is Venice. Mazatlan Mexico claims the third largest Mardi Gras on Earth. San Diego now reigns as the premier Mardi Gras destination on the West Coast. This is no small feat, as San Diego Mardi Gras only started in 1996 from 2 floats and whoever happened to be walking by at the time to over 40 floats and 40,000 people only 12 years later. In that relatively short time San Diego has cemented itself as a Top Ten Mardi Gras destination worldwide.
2009 Gaslamp Mardi Gras will take place on Fat Tuesday, February 24, 2009 from 6pm to Midnight. Mardi Gras is a fenced-in Gaslamp block party, and the parade route is right where you'd expect it to be - a straight shot down 5th Avenue, running twice; the first at 7:30pm and the last at 10:30pm. You need to be 21 or over (with ID) just to enter the fenced off area; that means drinking in the streets for the rest of us.
The 2009 Mardi Gras entertainment lineup looks better than ever, with multiple stages of live music and interactive performances. Check out the SoCo Zone with DJ Art, DJ Fingaz and DJ Brent Bartel alongside hip-hop dance crews and breakdancers; the Candy Factory stage welcomes DJ Kiss, DJ Shortee and DJ Diamond – all female DJs with a crew of glamorous go-go dancers; the Market Street Cirque is a thematic display of aerial acrobatics, balancing feats, fire dancing, magical puppetry, contemporary vaudeville, and much more.
Want to get in on the Mardi Gras action? Enter the Best Mardi Gras Costume contest and win double your weight in cash. Check out 2008 Mardi Gras photos for costume ideas – and make your vision a reality at one of the best costume shops in San Diego.
If you're looking to embrace a whole night of Mardi Gras experience, take time to make reservations for one of the participating San Diego restaurants within festival grounds. A $30 online ticket includes both entry and an entree. Among the eateries inviting you to "Eat, Drink, and be Mardi" are some of the most popular culinary destinations in town including: House of Blues, Gaslamp Strip Club, Acqua al 2, Confidential Restaurant and Loft.
If you opt for VIP entry to Gaslamp Mardi Gras, the block party is just your warm-up route. Club VIP package benefits include: ticket to Mardi Gras, no line and no cover ay 9 clubs on Fat Tuesday ($90 value) and VIP drink and food specials ($390 value).
Discover a taste of San Diego Mardi Gras VIP style:
THIN: A welcome specialty drink and 2 additional VIP passes for your next visit ($30 value)
Double Deuce: 2 VIP passes for your next visit and a free ride on Gaslamp’s only mechanical bull ($25 value)
Bondi: $25 Bondi Boomerang Voucher on food for your next visit and complimentary Aussie appetizers at Bondi from 8:30-10:30pm on Fat Tuesday ($35 value)
Spend $40 and receive over $500 in value – get your VIP tickets here. Regular Mardi Gras parade and block party tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information about 2009 Gaslamp Mardi Gras in San Diego, visit gaslamp.org.
Re-live 2008 Gaslamp Mardi Gras with event photos here, and the exclusive Insider video below.
2009 Gaslamp Mardi Gras Insider Tips:
- Take the Trolley. Parking is a nightmare and you don't want to miss half the night looking for a spot. There are Trolley stops near both the north and south ends of Mardi Gras.
- Get there early - leave early. You want a good spot for the parade, but things can get out of hand when the alcohol kicks in - especially on the north end. It's a good idea to leave on a high note.
- Be respectful. Bead bartering is bound to happen. Remember that not everybody wants to participate. Be polite, don't be creepy. It's not nearly as much as you're expecting.
- Mardi Gras colors are purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. They are the official colors of the House of Romanov.