Mardi Gras returns to Universal

ORLANDO -- Mardi Gras 2002 will make its re-appearance at the Universal Studios theme park starting Feb. 8. This year's Mardi Gras parade, a main feature of the celebration, will carry a patriotic theme, with all 14 floats decked out in red, white and blue.

The parade will cover 10 city blocks within the theme park. Stilt-walkers and more than 200 street performers will entertain the crowds, and musical acts will perform on the main stage on Hollywood Boulevard.

The schedule calls for Mardi Gras to be staged every Friday and Saturday night through March 16, and then nightly through April 6. This is the seventh annual celebration, described by park officials as "the biggest and longest-running Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans."

New Orleans specialties -- such as jambalaya and shrimp gumbo -- will be available for purchase. Clients booked on packages that include Universal Studios, such as those offered by Universal Studios Vacations and other tour operators, or who buy tickets on their own will be admitted to the Mardi Gras festivities at no extra charge.

When purchased separately, daily admission costs $48 for adults and children ages 10 and older and $39 for youngsters ages 3 to 9. For details, call (407) 363-8000. Additional Information can be found on the Web at www.universalorlando.com.

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