Mardi Gras at Universal 2010
Florida Guide > Universal Parks
Mardi Gras, or ‘Fat Tuesday’ as it is sometimes called, is the day before the season of Lent begins, and this is the last day of ‘Carnival’ which starts on ‘King’s Day, ’ January 6th. The festival itself dates back 5, 000 years but it was not until the arrival of the French explorer, Iberville, that it arrived in America. The first official parades began in 1838. One usually thinks of Mardi Gras as associated with New Orleans, where there are many big parades, with dozens of floats, local marching bands, dance groups and people in colourful costumes.
Universal Studios Mardi Gras is less frenetic, and more family friendly, and it always has a theme. It lasts from February through to April. The park is decorated in a festive fashion in gold, green and purple, colours which signify power, faith and justice. There are street performers, floats, stilt walkers and traditional zydeco music. The main events are located in the French Quarter Courtyard, in the New York area of Universal Studios, near the Twister and Revenge of the Mummy attractions. You can also experience New Orleans style food, including red beans and rice, andouille sausage po-boys, jambalaya and shrimp gumb. There is a parade at around 8. 00 or 9. 00 pm each night.
But the highlight of the Mardi Gras celebrations are the wonderful concerts which take place immediately after the parade, in the new Music Plaza. Each concert takes place on a Saturday, starting on February 6th, with a couple of extra concerts on Sundays. Entrance to Mardi Gras is included in your regular park admission.
The line up for 2010 Mardi Gras Concerts is as follows:
February 6th: KC and the Sunshine Band – this American musical group was founded in 1973 in Miami, and one of their most famous songs was “That’s the Way (I Like It)
February 13th: Heart – this rock band originated in Seattle, Washington, in the early 1970s.
February 14th:Kool and the Gang – originally founded in Jersey City in 1964 they have sold over 70 million albums worldwide.
February 20th: Blondie – this American rock band, founded by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein in the mid-70’s they were successful in the UK as well as America, with a number one single, ‘Maria, ’ in the UK in 1999.
February 27th: Dierks Bentley – an American country music artist.
March 6th: Akon – an R & B singer-songwriter who has produced hits for Lady Gaga and Leone Lewis
March 13th: Aretha Franklin – born in 1942 this American singer, songwriter and pianist is often referred to as ‘The Queen of Soul. ’ She is ranked as number 1 on the Franklin list of Greatest Singers of All Time.
March 20th: Miranda Lambert – a Grammy Award nominated American country music artist.
March 27th: Doors Down – an American rock band from Escatawpa, Mississippi, formed in 1996
April 3rd: Beach Boys – formed in 1961 this American rock band is always associated with surfing, and wonderful vocal harmonies. Who could not remember ‘Good Vibrations, ’ ‘Barbara Ann, and ’’God Only Knows, ’ to name but a few?
April 9th: Sheryl Crow – born in 1962, this American singer-songwriter and musican blends rock, country and pop. She has won nine Grammy Awards.
April 10th: Flo Rida – one of the newer sounds around, this rapper was born in Carol City, Florida in 1979.
April 17th: Chicago – this American pop/rock/jazz band was formed in 1967 and is second only to the Beach Boys in terms of singles and albums. Chicago is one of the most successful US groups, selling over 120 million albums worldwide, with 22 Gold, 18 Platinum and 8 Multi-Platinum albums
What a line up! If you are lucky enough to be in Orlando when these concerts are on you should have a simply awesome time – and it’s free! Make sure you find your spot early as if you wait until after the parade you could be some distance from the stage. Be prepared for the park to get very crowded, too, as the concerts are so popular.
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