Mitchell's vision lives on

A photo by Phyllis Hand of George and Cynthia Mitchell during the first Tremont House Mardi Gras Ball in 1985.

When the late George Mitchell opened the Tremont House hotel 30 years ago, he wanted to do so in style. 

His idea, helped in large part by Dancie Ware, was the see Mardi Gras reborn in Galveston. 

His vision lives on. 

As does the Tremont House Mardi Gras Ball. The event is one of the great traditions of Mardi Gras. 

Now in its 30th year, the Tremont Ball is bigger than ever. 

Cynthia and George Mitchell hosted the first Tremont House Ball on Feb. 16, 1985 in conjunction with the revival of the city’s celebration of Mardi Gras in Galveston. 

The ball premiered featuring live entertainment by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, Russell Jackson and Brennan’s Bunch. Tremont guests then witnessed the “first”Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade as it traversed the street in front of the hotel. The mile-long parade themed as a “Salute to the Age of Mythology” and drew an estimated 75,000 people. 

Offering nine floats and numerous marching bands, the magnificent parade was led by legendary jazz musician Pete Fountain.

Thirty years later The Tremont House, A Wyndham Grand Hotel, continues this annual tradition by transforming the entire hotel for this legendary ball.This year, The Tremont House celebrates “Pearls and Prohibition” featuringswing and jazz music by Austin singer Danielle Reich and the renowned Dr. Michael White Jazz Quartet from New Orleans. A dinner buffet andprohibition-inspired cocktails will be offered in the hotel during these performances. Later, the party moves outside for VIP viewing of the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade including a total of 55 floats and bands. Following the parade, guests make their way to the Tremont Ballroom for more cocktails and a memorable performance by Retro-Swing Band Poppin’ Daddies, finally a Midnight Breakfast is served to revelers as they wrap up the evening. 

In the past 30 years the hotel has celebrated Mardi Gras with various themes including salutes to Hollywood, Broadway, and the Circus as well as Parisian Nights, Venetian Nights, Cosmic Carnival, Carnival de Brazil, Viva Espana,Viva La Noche, the Enchantment of India, Chinese New Year and many more.The most recent balls include 2013’s “Waltz Across Texas” highlighted by a performance by Asleep at the Wheel and 2012’s “The Golden Era of Motown” with The Legacy of the Temptations presented by Legends in Concert.

TJ Aulds is Mainland Editor for The Daily News.

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