History of Mardi Gras on the Island

The history of the Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras is presented by one of the founders of the Krewe of Wrecks and creator of Mardi Gras on the Island, Jane Waters Cooper, in her book
"To The Beat of an Island Drum."


It was the courageous foresight and the foolhardy ambition of three Beach business friends who met in November of 1979 which would forever change the lifestyle of Pensacola Beach's winter population. The threesome decided to journey down a road never travelled before, when they began plans to celebrate Mardi Gras on the Island. Their ideas blossomed into reality and Mardi Gras was born in mid-February 1980. The hatchling came into the world, puny and unsteady, but colorful and imaginative.

It was a given that the fun loving locals would soon blow lusty life into the infant celebration. In time, it would become a winter way of life, a season to anticipate with excitement. In fact, to many, it was to become a way of life, day in and day out, the year around because they realized Mardi Gras is a party. Everybody's invited and everybody attends.

And, Mardi Gras is a spirit, a spirit which has been captured, refined and distilled by those kindred island souls who were obviously born with the spirit of Mardi Gras, imbedded in their hearts, just waiting for release.
It is reasonably accurate to say that there have been two distinct winter seasons on Pensacola Beach, pre Mardi Gras and post Mardi Gras. How this has all come about is told here, as you march "To the Beach of an Island Drum."


Beat of an Island Drum
The book is available by mail order for $16.
Checks made payable to Shelley Ink.
Mail to PO Box 844, Gulf Breeze, FL 32562