The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

February 3, 2012

Mardi Gras in the mud

HUNTSVILLE — Mardi Gras celebrations are synonymous with New Orleans, La., but that's quite a drive from Huntsville. Never fear, several Mardi Gras events are happening within a few hours from here and General Sam's Offroad Park in Walker County is even getting in on the action.

Shery Kelly runs General Sam's and said the event will be identical to the celebrations in New Orleans, except it'll be held in a mud pit.

She assured me there will be all the beer and babes a person could stand out at the park. The event, scheduled for Feb. 16 through 19, is for ages 18 and up. Two live bands from Nashville, Tenn. will provide entertainment. There will be food and novelty sales on site, as well as a wet T-shirt contest, costume contest and a parade.

Gates open Thursday at 8 p.m. and close Sunday at 6 p.m. Kelly said it's a good event to come to during this time of year.

“It's a beautiful time of year to get to ride just before spring break,” Kelly said, “to get away without the kids. It's super muddy out right now.”

Entrance to the park is $40 per person for the entire weekend. For more information, call PeeWee at (936) 537-8963 or email

Mardi Gras! Galveston

Galveston offers the next best thing to New Orleans in terms of Mardi Gras celebrations. Mardi Gras has been held on the island since at least 1867, though possibly earlier. In 1985, George Mitchell revived the celebration in conjunction with the reopening of the Tremont House in the Strand district.

Over the past 27 years, it has grown to epic proportions and now features five masked balls, 19 balcony parties, 24 parades and 26 concerts through its two-week run.

Events start on Feb. 10 and run through the 21st and a complete listing of times can be found at

Hot Chelle Rae, named new artist of the year at the 2011 American Music Awards, is headlining the musical lineup. Events will happen along the Seawall and in the 15 block Strand district. More than 300,000 people are expected to converge on the island for Mardi Gras.

In the Strand district, the party will be from 20th to 25th Streets and Harborside Drive to Mechanic Street with daytime parades along Seawall Boulevard.

For the Strand party, no food, beverages (except for two factory-sealed water bottles), alcohol, coolers, bicycles, pets, chairs or umbrellas are permitted. Ticket prices vary widely, depending on which events you'd like to attend, but the party is free for children 12 and under.

More than 3 million beads will be thrown this year, so don't miss out on the fun.

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