Monday, February 13, 2012

Parade Preparations

"Temperature 31º. Feels like 23º" the Weather Channel announced yesterday morning.

Perfect day for a parade--one of the first parades for the Mardi Gras season, and the day selected (assigned?, compromised?) by Scott, LA, for their parade.

Hours before the parade began, families along the route began their own pre-parade activities. Arranging for seating was the first task.

Late arrivals ran the risk of having the street to their destination closed.

(Last year, we arrived an hour before the parad was to begin. Well,... we didn't actually arrive at that time. We reached the exit to Scott off I-10 an hour before the start time, but it was closed and we had to go to the next exit and back track. This year we were over two hours early.)

The next order of business was food preparation. The aromas arising from the grills and hot plates were wonderful combina-tions of burgers and chicken and different varieties of gumbo.

And what parade would be complete without vendors. Items from cotton candy to Spiderman dolls to Whoopie Cushions (Honest!) are available.

And you can even buy one of those annoying plastic horns that made the World Cup almost unbearable to listen to--yup, the vuvuzela.

This vendor was way too skilled on this horn. I was tempted to buy one just so that it could not bellow, but I was sure that there was a Vuvu parked nearby filled with these mind-numbing South African...things.

Arriving as early as we did, we had time to walk the parade route. Along the way, we found some folks who were enjoying their own parade without the need for a float.

Some revelers were dressed in the traditional Mardi Gras disguise--a painted wire screen mask, a conical hat (capuchon), and fringed shirt and pants.

Several of those in the traditional costume were quite energetic; others seemed to have peaked very early in the day and were ready for a nap.

At a couple of homes, the collections of beads from past parades were displayed on a fence. A portion of one collection is shown here.

There are beads and collections of beads. And then there are BEADS.

Need I say more?

For a town with a population of about 8,000, the 90-minute parade must attract all 8,000 and a few thousand more.

All cross streets along the route had police officers and fire department personnel from Scott, Duson, and Lafayette (and probably more of the surrounding towns).

There are many parades in the ten days leading up to Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and the towns seem to have coordinated the timing of the parades, thereby enabling area residents (and tourists) to attend many of the parades. And making it possible for area police departments to pool resources for traffic and crowd control.

About fifty-minutes after the parade began, we could see the flashing lights of the police cars and fire trucks leading the parade.

This was none too soon, because some viewers were growing a bit tired and

others were growing impatient.

But the television news reporters were in position.

We could hear the sounds of the local high school band.

Let the parade begin.

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