Features for the New Orleans-themed downtown street party include Cajun food, Mardi Gras floats, entertainment, and beads galore.
“We have about 20 floats this year, and the parade starts at 9:30 p.m.,” said Samantha Senger of the city’s leisure services department. Hundreds of people will crowd the streets to view the colorfully-decorated floats and for a chance to score some beads. FLORIDA TODAY will have a car there. Please note, Senger said, there’s no need to flash anybody for those beads: “No, please!”
The event is family-friendly. “We have a kids area that’ll be open until the parade starts at Riverfront Park,” she added, listing the bounce houses, bungee games, face painting, and a rock-climbing wall.
The headliner, Pat Travers Band, takes the stage at Riverfront at 8 p.m. Another stage for music will be set up at the gazebo near Dog ‘N Bone British Pub.
This year’s Mardi Gras king and queen are David and Holly Lightholder. Last year’s king and queen — Mike and Sherri Coppage — will be on hand to pass on the crown.
Typically, for Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday,” it’s customary to nosh on richer, not-so-healthy food before fasting for Lent. Cocoa Village Mardi Gras has about 10 vendors serving food.
“We have crawfish, gumbo, jambalaya, crawdaddies, boiled corn and potatoes, and traditional Cajun foods,” Senger said. “We have some regular favorites, too, for people who don’t care for Cajun food like hot dogs, barbecue and pizza.”
Admission to the Mardi Gras fete is $12 at the gate. If you don’t want to battle the parking situation in downtown Cocoa Village, which gets a little dicey for events such as these, a park-and-ride is available at Sam’s Club on State Road 520 in Cocoa and Health First Compelx off SR 520 on Merritt Island. Call 321-633-0806 or 321-639-3500, ext. 4, or visitcocoamardigras.com.