It’s Christmas in July this weekend during Fairport Mardi Gras (2024)

FAIRPORT HARBOR, Ohio -- The annual Fairport Mardi Gras kicks off Wednesday (July 3), promising four days of festivities during its 82nd celebration.

The 2024 Mardi Gras -- featuring rides, games, live music, a parade and fireworks -- will run from 1 to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (July 3-6) at Fairport Harbor Beach Park, 301 Huntington Beach Drive in Fairport Harbor.

Shannon Barnhill, president of the Fairport Mardi Gras Committee, highlighted the festival’s rich history and shared details on new rides and attractions.

She said this year’s theme is “Christmas in July.”

“We have a new ride company, Big Top’s Magic Midways,” she said. “Santa will be making appearances.

“The Lake County sheriff’s mounted unit will be back for fireworks night. There is live music every day in the Entertainment Garden, along with tons of concessions and vendors to shop.”

Barnhill shared that the festival started as a street dance in 1939 to celebrate the paving of the lakeside village’s Chestnut Street.

As for the Mardi Gras name, Barnhill said it was “just the name they gave their street festival, and it stuck.”

Mayor Timothy Manross told cleveland.com that the four-day festival offers entertainment for all ages.

“The ‘Christmas in July’ theme is pretty cool this year,” he said.

“Mardi Gras is such a special part of our history and brings family members back year after year to celebrate our village,” Manross said.

“We see friends and neighbors and just celebrate the special village we call home. It is really quite unique, and we look forward to celebrating it every year.”

Barnhill said that while each day of the festival offers plenty of entertainment, she is most looking forward to Kids Day.

“I’m personally excited for Kids Day this year,” she said. “We will have Santa there, with free cookie decorating, cotton candy, a watermelon-eating contest and a bike raffle.”

She also highlighted that the grand prize raffle is up to $5,000 this year, with the winner being drawn after the fireworks on Saturday.

Parade Day, July 3

The event kicks off Wednesday with highlights including a parade at 7 p.m. and the crowning of the 2024 Mardi Gras queen.

DJ Rick will play music from 2 to 6 p.m., and Jesters Revenge, a ’90s rock tribute band, takes the stage at 8 p.m.

Kids Day, July 4

Kids Day festivities will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Attendees can enjoy various free activities, including visits from Santa, Christmas cookie decorating, cotton candy and more.

DJ Rick and DJ Wild Bill provide entertainment throughout the day.

Alumni and Seniors Day, July 5

Senior Day activities run from noon to 3 p.m., with shuttles from the Fairport Senior Center beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Highlights include bingo in the Entertainment Garden from noon to 1 p.m. and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Attendees can also enjoy live music, with Joey Panzarella performing from 5 to 7 p.m. and Guilty Party taking the stage at 8 p.m.

There will also be a Fairport Harbor Schools reunion from 5 to 11 p.m.

Fireworks Night, July 6

In addition to a fireworks display at dusk, the final day of the Fairport Mardi Gras will feature live music by 2 Guys, 12 Strings from 1 to 5 p.m.

DJ Wild Bill will take the stage at 7 p.m.

The Fairport Harbor Mardi Gras Committee notes that the spots to watch the fireworks are Lighthouse Hill and the Entertainment Garden.

Safety and rules

Manross emphasized that Mardi Gras is a family-friendly event, with safety being “at the forefront of planning” and additional measures being implemented this year.

In a Facebook post, the Mardi Gras Committee shared the new rules and warned that “failure to follow the rules below could subject you to immediate removal or to be denied entry to the festival.

“All criminal activity is subject to arrest and prosecution,” the Mardi Gras Committee posted.

Here are the rules:

1. Entrance and exit to the festival must be done at one of the marked access points. All daytime traffic should use the main entrance at the lighthouse. The north side beach entrance will be available in the later afternoons or after 7 p.m.

2. Minors must have a parent or guardian present after 7 p.m.

3. No fighting or disorderly behavior.

4. No hoods or face masks permitted unless medically necessary.

5. Book bags or oversized bags are subject to inspection upon entry.

6. Alcohol must be purchased from, and remain in, the designated Entertainment Garden.

7. Additional items may be prohibited at the discretion of law enforcement or event officials.

8. By requesting entry into this event, all festival-goers and attendees shall be subject to search.

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It’s Christmas in July this weekend during Fairport Mardi Gras (2024)
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