The rain cleared up, and the party commenced at the 16th annual Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade. The CIRC DU LA themed event saw the coronation of King Ravi and Queen Toni, a parade led by Miss Jessica and the Mudbug Brass Band, hola hoopers Kaycee and friends, and the Venice Electric Light Parade. And, Andrew Goetze was on the scene to capture it all. View event coverage below!
Thanks to Miss Jessica and the Gumbo Brothers for keeping the Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade tradition alive for the last 16 years!
Top photo: 2017 Venice Beach Mardi Gras King Ravi, Mark Snyder, and Queen Toni
A little Venice History: Following insert by Jeffrey Stanton. “Venice held its first annual Mardi Gras Festival August 16-18, 1935. The three day event featuring parades, costumes, contests and entertainment, was modeled after the New Orleans event. It began with the arrival of King Neptune in an outrigger canoe followed by Queen Venetia’s coronation and a royal procession along Ocean Front Walk. The queen read a proclamation commanding her subjects to engage in three days of fun and frivolity. The afternoon parade featured floats and costumed merrymakers wearing enormous plaster of paris heads that were manufactured in Arthur Reese’s studio
Windward Avenue was roped off for a street carnival where wandering gondoliers entertained. The parade included Keystone Cops and people wearing enormous plaster of paris head gear. The king and queen’s float along Venice’s Ocean Front Walk. – 1938. There was an afternoon treasure hunt for children and an evening program of aquatic events on Saturday. Sunday’s Miss California beauty pageant drew huge crowds, and a Mardi Gras Ball in the evening capped the celebration. The Mardi Gras Festival became an annual event of considerable importance prior to World War II. It became bigger and better each succeeding year and civic pride improved. By 1941 five hundred thousand people attended the expanded four day event in its final year. For more history on Venice, visit Jeffrey Stanton’s website , or purchase his book “Venice California-The Cooney Island of the Pacific“.
All photos by Andrew Goetze
2017 Venice Beach Mardi Gras King Ravi and Queen Toni
Kaycee B Smith
Venice’s songbird Suzy Williams