Mysti Krewe of Nimbus formed in 2010 to celebrate Louisiana Mardi Gras, and bring that spirit of joy to Portland. The Krewe is composed of both former Louisiana residents and many locals who love the food, music, and culture of Louisiana.
Besides the annual Ball, the Krewe hosts the Portland Mardi Gras Day Parade, a free community event on North Mississippi Avenue. During the Parade, hundreds of Portlanders revel in the streets with lighted costumes, marching music acts, a kid’s costume contest, and plenty of beads! The Mysti Krewe also decorates a limited number of mini umbrellas, which have become highly collectible “throws.”
Each year, the Krewe participates in many other events, including the Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade, the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland Pride Parade, The Big Float, and Music on Main Street. The Mysti Krewe adds color and enthusiasm to any event it attends.
The Mysti Krewe has a charitable wing, “The Goode Werks Krewe” that raises funds for dual non-profits in Oregon and Louisiana with similar goals. Previous recipients focussed on environmental issues. Currently funds are raised for groups working in music education.
The source of the word Nimbus in Greek Mythology means a cloudy radiance said to surround a diety when on earth. We find this name particularly appropriate, since it also is a rain cloud — and we live in the rainy Northwest. We have even changed the traditional “Mystic” to “Mysti” to further reflect this rainy condition. Mardi Gras falls during the rainiest time of the year, but this gives us an opportunity to bring together family and friends and celebrate as if it were the middle of the summer. As we like to say, Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Portland Mardi Gras Parade
Portland Mardi Gras Parade – February 13, 2024, N. Mississippi Avenue, Portland, OR (Last Mardi Gras Parade on the Planet)
Each year the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus hosts a free, family-friendly Mardi Gras parade for everyone. The parade steps off at 7:00 pm starting near Humboldt St and proceeds down Mississippi Avenue to Cook St., just past Fremont.
This community event invites all to dress up and come dance in the streets – joining the second line has become a rite of passage in Portland! Krewe members decorate signature mini-umbrella ‘throws’ to hand out to lucky participants.
Many venues along the way will have food and drink specials on parade day and things really get lively on Mardi Gras night, after the parade. Take a look!
More about Mardi Gras Parades:
Different Parade Types:
1. Mardi Gras Parades – Louisiana and Gulf Coast
Actually, the first Mardi Gras parade in the U.S. didn’t take place in New Orleans. It was held in Mobile, Alabama (under French rule) in 1703. The tradition eventually marched down to New Orleans and today over 70 parades roll through the city every year during Mardi Gras season.
Each parade is run by a Krewe and has a theme, voted on by Krewe members. All floats are decorated to fit the theme. Krewe royalty and other members ride the floats and throw beads, doubloons and trinkets to people on the street. The biggest krewe parades roll the final few days before Fat Tuesday. They include the Krewes of Endymion, Bacchus, Zulu, and Rex. It takes almost an entire year to build the floats, so Krewes get started just days after the previous Mardi Gras has ended.
2. Second Lines – Jazz Funeral and/or Social Club
Second line parades are the descendants of New Orleans famed jazz funerals. Their roots go back to the 19th century to local fraternal societies that provided insurance and burial services, especially among the African American community. The “first line” is the main section of the parade, such as family members of the deceased in a funeral march, or members of a club with the parade permit. People who follow the main group and its band are called the “second line.”
Dozens of second line parades occur in New Orleans throughout the year, all over the city. Anyone can join in. Participants dance and strut in the street and often deck themselves out in brightly colored suits, sashes, and hats, while carrying parasols and banners. It has the spontaneous energy of a lively, moving block party.