The Texas Relays are an annual track event (since 1925) hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. The Relays bring together both high school and college students and there are many parties held for the participants. The Texas Relays have been nicknamed the “Black Mardi Gras” because of the large numbers of partying African-Americans.
“Black Mardi Gras” has been cited in print since at least 2001 and remains a popular (but unofficial) nickname for the Texas Relays.
Wikipedia: Texas Relays
The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays are an annual track and field competition held at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. The University of Texas serves as host for the event, held on either the first or second weekend of April.
Events are held in High School, College, University, and Invitational divisions. The 85th running of the relays was March 28 - 31, 2012.
8 April 2001, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “For some, Texas Relays mean it’s time to party”:
“It’s kind of like a black Mardi Gras,” said Bruce Augustine, 30, an Austinite who works as a receiving clerk at Dell Computer Corp.
Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:32 pm
I was , in fact, in Texas some of last week and the weekend. Austin, Killeen, and San Antonio to be exact. It just so happened that the Texas Relays were going on, a rally of some sort with primarily African American crotch rocket riders, and what I understand to be the Black Mardi Gras, or Urban Music Festival. I heard very little of what I would term “Texas” music
PSA: Texas Relays
Apr. 2nd, 2007 at 4:29 PM
My least favorite time of year has come once again: Texas Relays. I’m not sure I even know exactly what Texas Relays is (I mean, is it just people running relays?), but I know that it will be impossible to get onto campus in a vehicle
Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
Just so you know, Texas Relays is one of the largest celebrations of African-American culture in Texas.
It’s also a track-and-field competition, but the entire weekend is known as “Black Mardi Gras.”
July-August 2009, The Alcalde (University of Texas alumni magazine), “Race Relations” by Lynn Freehill, pg. 23:
“Possibly even bigger than the track and field events themselves, the party scene in Austin that weekend has come to be known as the Black Mardi Gras. Folks travel from Dallas, Houston, and even as far away as Atlanta, Florida, California, and New York to take part in the 30+ parties and social events. You would be hard pressed to find a bigger social gathering in Texas of African Americans except maybe the Beach Party in Galveston.”
Answers to 10 Questions About What They Do
By Sarah Fenstermaker and Nikki Jones
New York, NY: Routledge
Texas Relays is an awesome event, bringing Olympic-level athletes as well as high school students to compete in track and field events in a stunning venue on the University of Texas campus. Tens of thousands of African Americans descend upon Austin from all over the country to watch the Relays and to enjoy a party scene that has come to be known as the Black Mardi Gras. It’s probably the biggest social gathering in Texas of African-Americans.
Austin (TX) American-Statesman
Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012
LOCAL BUSINESS FOCUS
Austin struggling to recruit, retain black professionals
By Laylan Copelin
An incident during the Texas Relays three years ago still resonates with some people.
The track meet draws tens of thousands of black visitors and is nicknamed “Black Mardi Gras” because of the numerous parties organized around it.