GALVESTON, Texas — The island was packed Saturday night for Mardi Gras celebrations and safety was top of mind for law enforcement, especially after what happened in New Orleans.
A person was hit and killed at a parade there. That's the second deadly parade accident for that city this Mardi Gras season.
Saturday's parade brought thousands to the strand. As the parade passed by, they were kept back by barricades. Galveston's Chief of Police said safety for Mardi Gras is something they’re planning all year.
But safety wasn't at all a concern for the hundreds of thousands who went out to Galveston all week long.
“There’s kids, there’s adults, there’s music. It's just crazy. It’s awesome," Katie Lukans said.
Mardi Gras! Galveston’s got it all.
“This one, you're more up close and personal here," Donna Bacon said.
This year, Mardi Gras is expected to bring $15 million in economic impact to the island. Organizer Mike Dean said that’s a number that’s nearly tripled since 2005.
“It’s huge. I don’t think you go to the beach in February, so if we can get 400,000 people to look our way in February, it’s a great idea," Dean said.
And every year, the number of arrests goes down. When it comes to security, the Galveston Police Department is in charge.
“I’d hate to even try to name all the agencies that come out and help us out, from DPS in Houston to Deer Park, and the Constable's office around here, so it really is, the countywide, region-wide effort," said Chief of Police Vernon Hale.
But for the people who came Saturday night, it’s all about the parades, the parties and the need for some beads.
Have fun, but be safe. Dean sums up his Mardi Gras advice in seconds:
“Come to Galveston, rent a hotel room and have a great time. Pick up your trash and go home safely," Dean said.
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