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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Fat Tuesday Festivities Flourish Nationwide

CHICAGO, Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- While New Orleans hosts the biggest U.S. Mardi Gras., it is not the only city that celebrates the boisterous festival, according to the travel experts at The GO Group.  This year the holiday (which marks the end of carnival season and ushers in Lent) falls on Feb. 12.  Festivities, however, start as early as January 19.

One of the largest celebrations occurs in St Louis at Soulard Mardi Gras, offering more than 15 events. The fun kicks off Saturday, Jan. 19, with a winter carnival in Soulard Market Park offering family-friendly activities such as games, mask decorating and a children's parade.   Four-legged friends can participate in The Beggin' Pet Parade and "Tail" Gating Party on Feb. 3. Festivities culminate in the illuminated Fat Tuesday Parade that winds through downtown St. Louis.

Universal Orlando hosts Bands & Beads,  an authentic celebration that transforms the venue  into a family-friendly version of the New Orleans street party. On Saturdays and select nights from Feb.  9 -- April 20, the celebration combines theme park entertainment with an elaborate  parade, costumed performers, authentic New Orleans bands, Cajun cuisine and live concerts.

Puerto Rico's version of Mardi Gras is its annual  Ponce Carnival,  held the week leading up to  Ash Wednesday.  The carnival takes place in the downtown area of Ponce and features marauding, costumed  vejigantes,  who "rid" revelers of evil spirits.  The festival ends with the Entierro de la Sardina, or "Burial of the Sardine,"  a mock funeral in honor of the coming season of Lent.

Established in 1718, New Orleans' Mardi Gras, is a lively mix of music, parades, floats, music, costumes,  street performers, artists and families gathering for picnics before the more raucous night revelry begins.  During Mardi Gras, virtually all the businesses and roads are shut down and everyone wears  purple, green, gold and, of course, beads. Visit the website for the schedule of events.

The GO Group serves all the airports in the cities above. For a complete list, visit the website:  

The GO Group, LLC is a one-stop source for door-to-door airport shuttle services. Its members transport some 13 million passengers to and from airports in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Europe annually. Travelers can book ground through GO's website,


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