Mardi Gras Galveston gets underway Friday evening with events including the Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade Parade and the George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award Honoree Parade.
The annual pre-Lenten event, which is popular with locals and several hundred thousand visitors alike, is a great boon for the city.
It showcases Galveston’s seawall and historic neighborhoods, especially downtown, and gives us all a chance to show off our skills at hospitality.
It’s also a time when a few, more or less, traditionally get tossed in the hoosegow. Nobody wants that, and you have to work pretty hard to make it happen.
Here are a couple of tips about getting along with police officers during Mardi Gras.
First, one obvious way to avoid concerns about injury and not trampling on the rights of others is to avoid drinking too much. Moderation is much preferred.
Second, cooperation is also preferred. Remember it’s a big crowd. The officers who work this event are experienced and are good at it. They want to see everyone is safe and has a good time. Work with them.
Third, remember you’re not just a partyer — you’re a citizen. Be a good one. It would be nice to think the police department is staffed for worst-case scenarios. That’s just not possible. Instead, police are depending on the overwhelming majority of islanders and visitors to conduct themselves well.
Where big crowds are expected, a highly visible police presence and a lot of good will are the best ingredients to have in a recipe for safety.
And those who know say it’s always a good idea to lock your car, guard your handbag and be mindful of your surroundings.
Before you head out, be sure to take a look at pages A4 and A5 in today’s edition, where you’ll find a wealth of information about Mardi Gras events happening this week and next.
Have fun and be safe.
• Michael A. Smith