A group from the U.S. Navy will partake in one of the largest parties along the Gulf Coast this year.
Just like in 2017, Mobile will be a host city for Navy Week, an event meant to expose smaller cities to the Navy. And as in 2017, the event will coincide with some of the city’s biggest Mardi Gras events.
Mobile will be one of 15 sites for Navy Week this year. It’s unique here because the city will have a ship in port, Lt. David Carter, Navy public affairs action officer, said. The events are designed to focus on Middle America, which is different from Fleet Week, which sends sailors to larger cities.
During Navy Week in 2017, Carter joked that sailors thoroughly participated in Mardi Gras, including bringing back beads, learning how to properly eat crawfish and even attending tailgate parties.
“The city really open its arms to us [in 2017],” he said. “They welcomed us.”
Starting Wednesday, Feb. 27, more than 150 sailors from a destroyer and the USS Constitution will be in town to take in and participate in the Carnival festivities, Carter said.
“It’s a built-in event, which is perfect for us,” Carter said. “We can piggyback on an existing event.”
In addition to offering tours of the ship, the sailors will take in the sights of Mardi Gras’ birthplace, as well as participate in parades and other events, Carter said. For example, members of the Navy Band Southeast, out of Jacksonville, will be in town performing as part of three separate bands, Musician First Class James T. Choate said.
There will be a marching band, which will perform in a number of parades, as well as a rock band. There will also be the Navy jazz band, which will perform at Mardi Gras Park between parades on various days, including Joe Cain Sunday.
“I love to mingle with the public,” Chote said.
In addition to the Carnival festivities, members of the Navy’s dive team will be on display along with an 8,000-gallon tank. Crews from the Navy’s oceanography and meteorology teams will also be in town, Carter said. In addition, a number of Navy officers will visit the city, along with its Office of Small Business, which will host a workshop. Sailors will also visit local schools before Mardi Gras break.
This story was updated on Feb.22 to clarify that sailors from at least two different Navy vessels would be participating in Navy Week.
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