Arrests at Mardi Gras! Galveston Down 50 Percent from Last Year
Admission Fee and Heighted Security Helps Make Galveston’s Mardi Gras Celebration Safer
GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas– Arrests at Galveston Island’s 100th Mardi Gras celebration the past two weekends were down 50 percent from last year as a result of heightened security and the return of an admission fee, according to the Galveston Police Department.
Police Chief Charles Wiley said this year’s Mardi Gras! Galveston has been a “safer, more family friendly” event with no significant disturbances and only 50 arrests over the past two weekends.
“Those (arrest) numbers are very low for the number of crowds we had,” Wiley said. “We make more arrests than that on a typical summer weekend.”
Wiley attributed the decrease in arrests during Mardi Gras to heightened security and the return of a gated, ticketed entertainment district where the majority of parades and concerts were held.
“Part of the large point in charging admission is to keep out the folks that would come and cause a disturbance for us,” Wiley said. “I support the fee. It’s certainly helped us. I think we’ve had a very orderly Mardi Gras thus far.”
The call for heighted security and the return of an admission charge was made by the event’s new promoter, Mike Dean of Galveston-based Yaga’s Entertainment. Dean instituted a $15 gate fee this year in an attempt to increase the quality of the event, which hosted headliner bands – such as Billboard chart-topper Neon Trees – for the first time in several years.
“We were able to provide 42 hours of non-stop, quality entertainment on both weekends for a very reasonable price,” Dean said. “The safety benefits and the positive feedback we’ve received have been priceless.”
This year’s Mardi Gras! Galveston, which began Feb. 25, included a line-up of 26 concerts, 18 parades and 13 balcony parties. The last parade kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, March 8. Tuesday’s activities are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.mardigrasgalveston.com.
About Mardi Gras! Galveston
Mardi Gras, the traditional festival of feasting and merrymaking that precedes the season of Lent, has been publicly observed on Galveston Island as early as 1867. Following a sabbatical imposed in 1941 by war and challenging times, Mardi Gras! Galveston was revived in 1985 by Galveston-born preservationist and developer George P. Mitchell. The largest celebration of its kind in Texas, the event has grown in cultural creativity and imagination, showcasing lavish parades, galas worthy of royalty, original artwork, children’s activities and delicious Gulf Coast cuisine.