Twelfth Night festivities, marking the start of Soulard's Mardi Gras season, start at 5 p.m. with the petitioning of the Mardi Gras, Inc. Board of Directors. Dignitaries, parade krewes, community organizations and anyone else of good will and cheer is encouraged to make a creative appeal to the Board to host the annual pre-Lenten celebration. 
The Board adjourns into a closed session at 6:30 p.m. to deliberate and vote on whether or not to produce the festival. At 6:45 p.m., after a lengthy, tense and somewhat raucous debate, the Board emerges on the front steps of Johnny’s to announce its decision. Much like the election of a Tamany Hall candidate, there isn’t much suspense surrounding the decision.
The parade steps off at 7 p.m. from Johnny's,1017 Russell Blvd. A decision of this magnitude must be properly fete’d and what better way to do so than with a parade through the streets of Soulard stopping along the way to toast at several of Soulard’s venerable establishments. It all culminates at Soulard Market in Rudy Commons (the brick plaza in front of the market) with the coronation of the 2017 Rex.