By: Kaytlin Thornton | Contributor
Mardi Gras is as synonymous with the city of Mobile as Trail Maids or azalea flowers. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, locals had to come up with a way to celebrate the holiday a little differently this year, with an event called the Mobile Porch Parade.
After being credited with having the first North American celebration in 1703, Mobile has become a popular tourist destination during this time of year, with massive crowds usually gathering in the downtown area to see what the city offers.
When it was announced that the Mardi Gras parades and balls, which many are used to, were canceled to keep everyone safe, it was disappointing news. Especially for the local small businesses that have been directly impacted by the loss of this very integral aspect of tourism.
To keep up the Mardi Gras spirit and help out the community, a small group of locals decided to put together the Mobile Porch Parade. Homeowners were encouraged to decorate their houses as if they were floats and register them to be a part of the “parade route” so that Mobillains and visitors alike could tour the parade of houses at their own leisure.
All across the city, over 400 homes and businesses have contributed to what many call “Yardi Gras.” Some people even hired float artists to help decorate their homes, resulting in some extremely extravagant displays featuring beads, masks and characters of all shapes and sizes.
Resident Heather Brantley said in Alabama Newscenter that, “As a descendent of Joe Cain, the father of Mobile’s Mardi Gras, it’s important to my family to safely carry on with this celebration. Living downtown has given us an opportunity to be a part of keeping Mardi Gras alive during these challenging times. Right now, everyone is in need of some form of revelry that Mardi Gras brings. Our porch parade is another example of how our community has supported each other through the pandemic.”
So, if you’re looking to let the good times roll this Fat Tuesday, try to check out some of the homes in the Mobile Porch Parade and if you can’t get out to join the fun, you can follow the festivities on Facebook and Instagram.