ST. LOUIS - Thousands of people will be descending on Soulard for one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the country, and we've put together this guide so you can be equipped with all the info you need to have a fun, safe time.
Mardi Gras events
- February 18 & 19: Cruzan Rum Taste of Soulard
- February 18: Missouri Lottery Run For Your Beads 5K
- February 19: Beggin’ Pet Parade
- February 19: Weiner Dog Derby
- February 24: Mayor’s Mardi Gras Ball
- February 25: Bud Light Grand Parade
Arrive early! The parade will begin at 11 a.m. on February 25 with the route starting at Busch Stadium and ending at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. More than 10 million strands of beads will be tossed from more than 100 floats. Because the parade falls on Oscar weekend this year, the theme is Soulard Celebrates Cinema.
And here's a fun fact. The first-ever Mardi Gras in Soulard cost about $1,200. This year's event will cost about $1.5 million with the average float costing about $7,500. There's expected to be about 17 million beads thrown on the parade route.
The parade route will start at Busch Stadium, then head down Broadway to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. (The parade route is represented in green on the map below.)
Anthony Slaughter has your Mardi Gras weather forecast.
Dress for the weather
We may have gotten used to spring-like weather here in St. Louis over the past few days, but Saturday is going to be cold! Wear layers and comfortable shoes.
How to get there
Let's face it-- parking is going to be rough. The event organizers are recommending parade-goers to take the Metro, a shuttle or a cab instead.
MetroBus will be providing shuttle service from the Stadium MetroLink station to Soulard and back every 15 minutes starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 11 p.m. Shuttle passes are $6, but riders with a Metro U-pass or Monthly Pass can ride for free.
The "Red Zone" of Soulard will be entirely off-limits to motor vehicles and on-street parking. That zone is from Carroll to Shenandoah and 7th to Gravois.
The "Yellow Zone" will only be accessible to Soulard residents with a valid Parade Day Access Permit. That zone include Shenandoah and the areas south of it. The permits will be mailed to Soulard households. Residents who do not receive their permits may pick them up from February 20-22 at the Mardi Gras, Inc. office, 2200 Dolman Ave. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Wednesday.
What not to bring
Backpacks, bottles, cans and coolers are all prohibited from the festival zone. If you have any of these items, you'll be asked to get rid of them. Reasonably prices food and beverage options will be widely available within the festival zone.
AT&T providing a mobile boost
If you use AT&T for your cell phone data plan, you're in luck. The company will be bringing three Cell on Wheels antennas to boost wireless coverage in Soulard for all the festivities. The company has also boosted capacity at nearby cell towers by more than 50% over last year's coverage.
Verizon installs permanent boost
Verizon customers should also have great coverage for the events because the cell company has installed permanent small cells in Soulard specifically for Mardi Gras.
A lot more information about the events and what to expect can be found at stlmardigras.org.
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