Over twenty years ago, the Magic Hat Brewing Company had a crazy idea: to gather the city of Burlington, Vermont together for a Mardi Gras-themed celebration to benefit a local non-profit. The only catch was that the Vermont brewer had to figure out how to get Burlingtonians outside for several hours in the middle of winter's coldest, most unforgiving month of February. After countless hours of asking local businesses to participate with a float, working with the city of Burlington, the police department, the fire department and many more organizations, the parade was ready to go, but the question remained: Would anyone actually show up? No one knew.
As the motley crew of floats rounded the first corner from Main Street onto Church Street, Magic Hat was shocked to see a couple thousand screaming citizens eager to catch beads, chocolates and a glimpse of the floats. So began the annual ritual of the Magic Hat Mardi Gras Weekend.
Magic Hat has helped to thaw the frozen winter streets of downtown Burlington and, more importantly, raised money through revelry for non-profits such as HOPE Works and Vermont Foodbank over the last twenty years.
Each Mardi Gras Weekend features an ice-breaking concert on the night before the parade hits the streets. Bands that have primed the city and its many guests include The Jazz Guys, Soulive, The Disco Biscuits, Deep Banana Blackout, White Denim and more. When jam band heroes moe. played at the top of Church Street in 2002, both Magic Hat and the City were caught off-guard by the solid block of people that stretched from the band's tent all the way to Pearl Street, four city blocks south.
The Magic Hat Mardi Gras Parade has seen it all: 50° February days, -5° February days, snow storms that led to a parade being cancelled and rescheduled the following weekend, crowd surfing blow-up dolls, outrageous costumes and more. Through it all, there have been several wonderful consistencies: tens of thousands of Mardi Gras revelers, floats, beads, moonpies and, most important of all, the spectacular community support for a local non-profit group.
Over twenty years, Magic Hat, the Burlington community and our many esteemed out-of-town guests have raised more than $260,000 for the Vermont Community.
The Grand Parade has grown to such grandeur that it must roll down the only street big enough to hold a 25,000-strong group of revelers: Main Street. The day of the parade, Main Street will be teeming with joyous groups of people, both large and small. Together with our community partners and our beneficiary, Vermont Foodbank, we’re working hard to make sure the 2018 Mardi Gras Parade is our most memorable yet. We look forward to seeing you in downtown Burlington the weekend of March 9th - March 11th for the 23rd annual Magic Hat Mardi Gras Weekend. Cheers!
Get set for the Magic Hat Brewing Company’s 23rd Annual Mardi Gras Parade in downtown Burlington, Saturday, March 10th! We’re aimed at making this Mardi Gras the biggest and best yet, and we need your help… and your floats!
Are you a local business or community group that wants to get your name out to your fellow Vermonters? Here’s your chance! Experience the Grand Parade from the best seat in the city – your own float! – and promote your mission before thousands of revelers!
Gather your floatmakers by the March 1st deadline and start creating the most splendiferous float Burlington has ever seen and woo our judges with your creative genius for a chance to win fabulous group prizes.
Remember, you’ll be joining us and the Vermont Foodbank in taking action against hunger and helping to provide nutritious meals for the one in four Vermonters in need. Set up an online fundraising page for your float. Every dollar that you raise will provide three meals!
If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact the Mardi Gras Office at 802-865-5202 or email Elise at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magic Hat Mardi Gras Weekend is a fundraiser that aims to raise awareness and money for the Vermont Foodbank while celebrating with the local community. Each year, the Foodbank and their network of food shelves and meal sites throughout the state serve 153,000 Vermonters in need of emergency food assistance. To learn more about Vermont Foodbank’s mission, visit them at www.vtfoodbank.org. Over the years Magic Hat Mardi Gras has raised over $260,000 for local non-profits