For millions of people around the world, parades are the highlight of a day, week, or even year. Parades are parties where everyone get’s involved. One of the best examples would be Mardi Gras, where several parades a day can take place. It is one big celebration and everyone is involved, whether you are working with the city to prep for and regulate the parade, a Krewe member who is tossing parade throws to the crowd, a member of the marching band, or just one of the parade goers waiting anxiously to see what treasures they will go home with. Today, we want try and provide some tips for the parade goers, specifically newcomers who may not know how to properly prepare for the enormous celebration known as Mardi Gras.
Watching and participating in a Mardi Gras parade can either be one of the most memorable events you attend or it can be one of the most disastrous experiences. It all depends on how you plan for it. We have searched the web and asked veteran parade goers what they think are some important things to keep in mind when planning to attend a Mardi Gras Parade. The following are just a few of the things that you can keep in mind that will help make sure your night of Mardi Gras Bead hunting is a memorable one in a positive way.
1.Lodge near the parade route.
Probably one of the best things you could do for yourself is to have a place to stay that is within walking distance of the parade route. This eliminates the need for having to drive and also takes care of one of the other tips, which is having a preplanned meeting place should you separated from your party. If you are one of the lucky ones to get a room on the parade route then that is all the better. Watching the a parade from your balcony has some unique advantages. To get the best rates and location be sure to plan far enough ahead when booking the room.We can tell you that in the world of Mardi Gras, a month or two before Mardi Gras is not planning ahead, think more like a year in advance.
If you are not lucky enough to get lodging near or on the parade route, try to carpool. The more people that car pool the less congestion there is before and after the parade. This cuts down on delays and potential accidents from happening. Make sure the person driving your carpool is a “Designated Driver”. Know the local laws and regulations for parking, you do not want to end the night by finding out you car has been towed. Also be sure to educate yourself on where the safe place to park for a parade is, you don,t want to end the night finding out your car has been vandalized either. Be sure you know your way back to the car, you do not want to end the night carrying around a bunch of parade throws while searching for your car.
3. Know the area
Before immersing yourself into the crowds and confusion of a Mardi Gras Parade, take the time to learn the layout of the area you will be in. Know the names of the main streets that run through the area. If at all possible have a map of the area saved on your phone or at least a pocket map. Here are a few examples of some things you will want to be able to locate.
- Police Station – In case of emergency
- Medic Station – In case of emergency
- Starting and ending point of the parade – Most of the time you can use this knowledge to see the same parade at least twice.
- Where you parked – so you can get home
- Coffee Shop – For the pick me up
- Store – Never know what you need to buy on the go
Make sure you bring a camera! Whether it is video or photo, you will want to have this experience recorded. Be sure to bring along a comfortable sized camera that you can strap to your wrist or waist. The crowds go into a frenzy when the Mardi Gras Beads start flying and you do not want to get bumped into and see your camera hit the ground. Make sure you have an empty memory card with plenty of memory. Once you start seeing all the crazy floats, costumes and different outfits people will be wearing you will find yourself snapping way more pictures than you intended to.
5. Dress appropriately for the weather and amount of walking you will be doing.
After you have figured if you are staying on the parade route or if you are parking near it, the next thing you need to do is try and estimate how far you will be walking total. If it is more than 100 feet then you need to make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Mardi Gras parades will generally involve quite a bit of walking for the average person. Walking around during Mardi Gras is kind of like being out in the sun, sometmes you are burned before you realize how long you have been out there. Same with the walking, you can walk a mile or two and not even realize it. You do not want blisters keeping you from scrambling for all the cool Mardi Gras trinkets that will be thrown your way. Also make sure you know what the weather is going to be and dress for it. you do not want your fun interrupted by constantly having to rub your arms because you are cold. You also do not want to spend the parade lugging around extra coats and jackets you really didn’t need.
These are just 5 of many tips that can be followed to make sure your Mardi Gras Parade experience is the best possible. The key to it all is to make sure you plan, plan, plan. Stay safe and Happy Mardi Gras!