Six Flags Great America kicks off Mardi Gras Festival

Running now until Aug. 12, the Mardi Gras celebration at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee is quite the colorful celebration to help your family soak in some of the last weeks before school starts.

The New Orleans-inspired festival and parade includes colorful entertainment, giant floats with tossed beads and fireworks nightly. Parades were at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. the day my family visited, with another party at 5:30 p.m. Position yourselves in Mardi Gras or Orleans Place for the best views and even get a chance to participate. The parade starts with family-friendly music that had of the kids singing along and performers on floats and stilt walkers toss purple and green party beads while dancing with the crowd.

The Big Easy theme continues with special Cajun cuisine. Buy tickets to enjoy a shrimp po’ boy, jambalaya, crawfish, beignets or even a Southern Hurricane. Of the festival food, we thought the po’ boy sandwich was the best with fried shrimp, soft French bread and fresh lettuce and tomato.

While in the Mardi Gras section of the park, try the new Mardi Gras Hangover, the world’s largest loop coaster. Zip forwards and backwards on a 100-foot-tall loop and become suspended upside down near the top. These hang-times will make you feel weightless.

Before you leave the park for the night, let the good times roll with a nightly firework display.

Insider tip: Buy tickets online to save money; the festival is included in admission. While you are there, buy parking in advance for $26 to avoid delay at the park.

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