Costumed revelers will take to the streets to kick off the local 2012 Mardi Gras festivities in the 11th Annual Venice Beach Mardi Gras Parade Saturday, Feb. 18.

Local residents, musicians, artists and Mardi Gras enthusiasts will gather along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, tossing beads to spectators, to celebrate the spirit of New Orleans Mardi Gras.

The theme of this year’s parade is “14th Month of Fun.”

Hosted by The Krewe of Grand View, a group of musicians, artists, friends and residents from Venice, Mar Vista and Santa Monica, the event is self supporting and intended as an offering to the Venice community to show appreciation for its support of artistic expression, a parade organizer said.

The parade is scheduled to begin at noon at Rose Avenue and Ocean Front Walk, and will proceed south to Windward Avenue and back. Music will be provided by the Mud Bug Brass Band and the Mardi Gras Drum Tribe.

The festivities will be immediately followed by a Mardi Gras party from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at the Venice Bistro. The free show will feature live performances by The Gumbo Brothers (New Orleans funk), Miss Jessica and The Sugar Shack Attack (R&B/soul).

The parade will be held rain or shine. Costumes are encouraged. Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

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