'A WEEK OF FUN FOR EVEYONE': The Village of Baytowne Wharf is your Mardi Gras destination

Matt Algarin
The annual Mardi Gras Dog Parade always proves to be a barking good time for both our four-legged friends and owners. This year's theme is Tail-Gates & Touchdowns: Paw-ty in the Endzone, so pull out your game day garb and come celebrate.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf is undergoing a Mardi Gras makeover.

“Being from Louisiana, I love this time of year. It’s exciting to see the Village decorated in purple, green and gold, and it really sets the tone for the Carnival season," said Brittany Byrd, events coordinator for the Village of Baytowne Wharf.

Mardi Gras is a week-long celebration at Baytowne, so prepare to say "Laissez les bon temps rouler" as you jump, jive and wail down the Village's cobblestone streets.

Festivities kick off in furry fashion Feb. 10 with the 10th annual Mardi Gras Dog Parade and then continue on Feb. 12 with the 11th annual Baytowne Bash Fat Tuesday Parade.

The 24th annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival rounds out the celebration Feb. 16.

As your four-legged friends’ favorite event, the annual dog parade begins at 2 p.m. and will be a barkingly good time for all. This year's theme is Tail-Gates & Touchdowns: Paw-ty in the Endzone.

Whether you are a Seminole, a Gator or a Bulldog, let your dog strut their stuff in your favorite team gear and colors. With music from the Bay City Brass Band serving as the soundtrack, throws, beads and parade favors will be aplenty.

And don't forget to decorate your car, float, golf cart, wagon or bicycle. All proceeds from the parade benefit Alaqua Animal Refuge.

Fat Tuesday is the most festive day of the year, so plan to pull out your favorite masks and Mardi Gras garb. Don’t forget to yell "throw me some beads mister" as locals, homeowners and guests get into the spirit and march down Main Street in majestically decorated cars, golf carts and floats.

Balconies will be packed with anxious partygoers, so be ready to catch an assortment of beads, moon pies and other trinkets.

The post-parade celebration continues into the night with street performers and throws, followed by parties at other Baytowne Wharf favorites.

To take part in either parade, visit

"I am amazed at how the community embraces being a part of the parades," Byrd said. "Participants create elaborate golf carts, have amazing costumes and always entertain the crowds."

As the ceremonial wrap to the Mardi Gras celebration, gumbo lovers are in for a tasty treat during the annual gumbo festival. From 12 to 4 p.m., food aficionados can tour the gumbo creations from various Gulf Coast restaurants, such as 790 on the Gulf and 98 BBQ.

Spend the day sampling gumbo while dancing to the sweet sounds of Dikki Du & the Zydeco Krewe from 6 - 8 p.m.

Celebrity judges will be putting their taste buds to the test as they choose their favorites. You will also have a say in who takes home the coveted "People's Choice" award, so come hungry.

For more information about the Sandestin Gumbo Festival visit Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event.

“The Village of Baytowne Wharf creates a true Mardi Gras experience, complete with parades, beads, Cajun music and simmering gumbo," Byrd said. "It's a week of fun for everyone.”