Since this year marks the centennial of one of St. Louis’ most storied institutions, the 2018 Grand Parade theme is "Celebrating #Muny100"
Ample parking is available in Downtown St. Louis.
On Saturday, February 10, special Mardi Gras shuttles will operate every 15 minutes from 9 am to 11 pm between the Stadium MetroLink Station (at the corner of 8th and Spruce Streets) to 10th Street in the Soulard neighborhood, in the heart of the action by the Soulard Farmer’s Market. The cost of a round-trip shuttle ticket is $6, and they can be purchased on Saturday at the Stadium MetroLink Station. Visit Metro transit’s website for more information about the shuttles and how to plan your trip to Mardi Gras.
Throwing beads traces its roots to an old English custom where the local nobles would parade down the village main street and toss candies and glass beads to the peasantry. Given Mardi Gras’ unique sense of humor, New Orleans expanded on the mock King or Rex idea with ordinary people dressed as nobles tossing candy and trinkets to the crowd, thereby poking a bit more fun at the well-heeled.
At Soulard Mardi Gras, more than 17 million beads fly from the Grand Parade route. We’re not certain what you have to do to get beads, but we sure see a lot of people wearing them after the parade.
We have had some requests from sponsors and krewes to throw lots of different items from the parade route. We’ll stick with beads.
Unlike most annual holidays, which are a fixed date on the calendar, the date for Mardi Gras is dependent upon the date of Easter Sunday.
The season itself begins on a fixed date though, Twelfth Night on January 6. This is the day that the three Magi arrived in Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus, twelve days after His birth. This is also the origin of the King Cake tradition, and the reason for the toy baby inside the cake — we’ll give you one guess who it is.
The end of the Carnival season, Fat Tuesday, isn’t so simple. Of course, Easter always falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon of Spring. Now in truth, it’s not quite so easy as that. We’re sure you all remember Pope Gregory XIII. He was a real stickler for calendars — so much so that he threw out Julius Caesar’s calendar and made his own (we certainly wouldn’t have wanted to mess with Caesar’s calendar, but that is another story). So the real date of Easter also deals with the difference between an astronomical full moon and an ecclesiastical full moon. But we digress. If you are really that interested in Gregory’s calendar, you should probably supplement your reading on the subject with other sources.
In any case, Easter is the key to determining the date for Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which is always the day before Ash Wednesday, 47 days before Easter Sunday, whenever that falls. Simple, right?
Do not bring bottles, cans, backpacks, or coolers. We strictly forbid these items and will confiscate them at all checkpoints entering the Soulard neighborhood. You will not get the items back. You will never see them again. Leave them at home. These restrictions are necessary to maintain a safe environment for everyone, so we can all have fun. Together, we are creating a safe and enjoyable series of events for the whole region. NO bottles, NO cans, NO backpacks, and NO coolers.
The Parade route is closed to cross-over traffic at 10 am. After 10 am no person will be allowed to cross the street along the Parade route, in order to keep the street cleared for the parade. The only crosswalks are at Russell and Lafayette.
If you plan to park East of Broadway (Corporate Village, Kingdom, VIP) be at your tent no later than 10 am, to insure you have access to cross over Broadway.
There are no restrictions on parking in Soulard February 3rd. Streets will be temporarily blocked during the 5K along the route to allow runners to pass safely. However, streets will be congested with foot traffic and the trolleys that are transporting people for the Taste of Soulard.
We recommend parking on the east side of 7th street and walking over to the Soulard neighborhood for both the 5K and the Taste of Soulard Saturday.