January / February 2016
By Bay Area Health & Wellness Magazine
Every year, thousands of Bay Area residents look forward to the glam, glitter and celebration of “Americas Largest Mardi Gras Boat Parade,” Yachty Gras. Elaborately decorated yachts make their way down from the Seabrook Cannel to eventually pass the Kemah Boardwalk, throwing Mardi Gras beads along the way to those eager to catch them.
To the spectator, Yachty Gras is three days worth of fun and entertainment. However, it is more than that to the people involved in creating the parade. Yachty Gras was started in 1999 as a celebration, but over the years, the Yachty Gras Foundation has evolved into a serious non-profit group that has benefitted many organizations.
“The number one goal of Yachty Gras is the bring tourism to the Bay Area,” says Dr. Maurine Howard, Executive Director. “But along the way, we make money. We give the money back to different charities in the area. This way, we are giving back AND bringing tourism to the area.” Over the years, the Yachty Gras Foundation has supported, through monetary donations, many different organizations. These include: Bay Area Turning Point, League City Animal Shelter, Kemah Police Department, Elks Lodge, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Second Chance, and the Jeanette Williams Foundation. This year’s proceeds will benefit the Sea Scouts, an organization that offers aquatic educational programs for area youth. For more information, visit yachtygras.com or call 713-882-4040.