GALVESTON Mardi Gras revelers will have to pay $17 to get onto The Strand this year, continuing the policy that has been in effect since the event was taken over by a private business in 2011.

The price, according to event organizers, is the cost of putting on Galveston s largest event. But there are some who say the event should be free to access.

Ticket prices were the same in 2012, said Mike Dean, the owner of Yaga s Entertainment, the promoter that has been in charge of Galveston s Mardi Gras celebrations for three years. And he s standing by charging for the event, which attracted up to 250,000 to the island in recent years.

A free Mardi Gras is a situation that does not do good for anybody, Dean said.

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