The boardwalk was a swingin’  with swagger on Saturday as  colorfully costumed revelers sauntered down OFW,  throwing beads and blowin’ reeds. The 17th annual Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade bounced down the boardwalk to the beat of the Mudbug Brass band, complete with hula hoopers, jesters, jokers, and tokers, all getting their spirit of New Orleans on.  The moving circus inched from N. to S., starting at Noon at The Venice Ale House, and hitting the finish line at Surfside at 2:00 p.m. The Venice Electric Light Parade rode caboose, moving the distracted and straggling along.

Post parade the party proceeded at Surfside!   The Gumbo Brothers got their groove on, as did Miss Jessica, while glittery crowd enjoyed food and drink specials, a bead toss, and a whole lot of dancing and debauchery.

It was an epic event  that followed in the tradition of previous years.  A big fist bump to Craig Keylo, Surfside owner, for hosting, and keeping the landing spot tradition going.

And a two handed high five,  to  Miss Jessica and the Gumbo Brothers for keeping the Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade  alive for the last 17 years!

Check out amazing Mardi Gras photos below by Andrew Goetze.

A little Venice Mardi Gras 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“.

View all photos by  Andrew Goetze here. 

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