It’s that time of year again! We are so excited! Carnegie Carnival is here… Let the good times roll!
If you’ve ever wanted to experience Mardi Gras right here at home, Decatur-where-its-greater hosts North Alabama’s FIRST and LARGEST Mardi Gras event in North Alabama. The best part is that almost every single event is family friendly and more than half the day is devoted to kids!
What is Carnegie Carnival?
The Carnegie Visual Arts Center’s slogan “Art is for Everyone” isn’t just a saying, it’s a reality in the River City. The Carnegie is a 501c3 nonprofit that hosts free workshops, classes, events, and exhibitions for the community. Carnegie Carnival is their biggest fundraiser of the year and every dollar raised during Carnival season goes back to the Carnegie and helps them give back to other organizations such as the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of North Alabama, Rescue Rangers (animal rescue), the Decatur High Developmental Program, and many more community partners.
During Carnival season, King, Queen, Prince, Princess, and canine candidate raise money through fundraisers scheduled from Twelfth Night through Parade Day to compete for titles. King and Queen candidates are civic-minded adults from the community. Prince and Princess candidates are representatives from each community high school: Decatur, Austin, Hartselle, Priceville, and Decatur Heritage Christian Academy.
Friday, March 1st at 7:00 pm
Princess Theatre, 112 2nd Avenue NE, Decatur
Get the party started a day early with the reigning King Doug and Queen Lindsay and royal alums, King Wade and Queen Holly at the Cake Shake, sponsored by MarMac Real Estate. Enjoy free cakes and live jazz music from The Willies for a night of fun suitable for the whole family, even the tiniest Carnival-goers. (My kids have attended as babies! They love live music!) No tickets or prior reservations required. Cash bar available. Click here for more information on the Cake Shake.
Carnival Frolic 13.1
Saturday, March 2nd at 8:00 am
Old State Bank, 925 Bank Street NE, Decatur
FREE to watch or volunteer
$60-$100 to run individually or as a relay
Fast approaching 200 runners, including one wheelchair racer, coming in from 13 states and 2 countries, this year’s Frolic will truly be the best yet! Some runners are participating in the King Insurance King Cake Challenge and will eat a dozen donuts while running 13.1 miles. Join us on the beautiful course to cheer on our participants, or we’d love to have you as a spectator or volunteer. Click here to register to run. Click here to register to volunteer.
Saturday, March 2nd, starts at 12noon & runs all day
The Brick Deli
FREE admission, plus the cost of food and drinks
Enjoy live Mardi Gras music all day at the Brick. Suitable for the whole family, including kids, during food service hours. The Brick has a wonderful menu filled with the River City’s favorite sandwiches and burgers.
Click here for a full band line-up and for more information.
Carnival Prince and Princess Parade
Saturday, March 2nd at 12:30pm
Founders Park, Decatur
Join CASA of North Alabama for the 2019 Prince and Princess Parade. Kid-centric floats, walkers and riders will delight your young ones. Line up on the sidewalks of Church Street and Second Avenue for the best views! The parade starts at Founders Park on Bank Street and ends at Casa Grande Park on Second Avenue, where the Prince and Princess will be crowned. Click here for more information including parade route.
Carnival Midway and Creation Station
Saturday, March 2nd from Noon to 4:00 pm
Morgan County Farmer’s Market, 211 First Avenue SE, Decatur
$5 donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters for unlimited play
FREE for the Creation Station
Kids will delight in the Carnival games and art creation stations set up for endless family fun. The Farmer’s Market is covered in case of rain so the fun will go on no matter what. This event benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Carnival Midway is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Decatur and the Creation Station is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Decatur. Click here for more information on the Midway games. Click here for more information on the Creation Station.
Saturday, March 2nd from 1pm to 3pm
Josie’s, 109 Second Avenue SE, Decatur
FREE to attend, cash bar
Start at Josie’s, but you’ll want to join royal alums, King Andy and Queen Sheila for a Mardi Gras party for the over-21 crowd in the alley. Yes, the Hurricane Alley! Enjoy beverages from Josie’s, Moe’s BBQ, Mellow Mushroom, The Princess, and The Brick, with live music by Dusty and Billy that you won’t want to miss! Click here for more information.
Canines on Parade
Saturday, March 2nd at 2:00 pm
Second Avenue/Johnston Street, Decatur
FREE to watch, $5-$10 to enter your canine to walk in the parade
Dogs wearing Mardi Gras costumes?! Can you even love this more? Walk your party pooch in the parade or watch from the sidewalks as the Carnival Canines will excitedly pull their owners from Johnston Street to Lee Street on Second Avenue. All proceeds from this event benefit the Rescue Rangers. Sir Bow Wow and Lady Barksalot will be crowned at the conclusion of the parade. Prizes and treats for all! Click here for more information.
And finally, what we’ve all been waiting for! Drumroll please…
Carnegie Carnival Parade 2019
Saturday, March 2nd at 6:00 pm
Begins at Gordon Drive/Second Avenue SE and ends at Bank/Church Street
Crowds are lined three to five people deep for North Alabama’s biggest Mardi Gras parade! Catch a glimpse of pirates aboard a wooden pirate ship; widows and mistresses marching in honor of Joe Cain alongside their grave diggers; marching bands; a Greek sailing ship filled with sirens and skeletons; plus many more amazing floats you have to see to believe. If you do one thing on Saturday night, you can NOT miss this! For more information click here.
My family is part of a charter crewe and we’ve been parading every year since the beginning of this great fundraiser. Each year I think, “This can’t get any better. This is the best year yet.” And then the next year rolls around and proves me wrong. I hope you will join us for some Mardi Gras in the River City this year. I personally guarantee that you will not be disappointed. It’s truly amazing how our beautiful city comes together for a day of family fun! Let the good times roll!
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Andi Stewart is a Decatur-native, who spent over a decade living in Miami. She finally returned home, married a boy she’s known since childhood, and loves raising her family in the hometown she adores. She has two children, a son and a daughter. She’s a professional Environmental Engineer who balances a full-time career with motherhood. She’s run more marathons than she can count (mostly because she really enjoys eating) and she loves her daily barre class and traveling. She is passionate about her River City community and when she’s not volunteering, she’s enjoying all her city has to offer.