February 7, 2015 (by Angela)
Although the 2015 Mardi Gras parades in the greater Mobile, Alabama, area began January 17th on Dauphin Island, today was our first time to attend one of the parades. We drove into Mobile, arriving about 12:30 p.m., and began our search to find a place to park and a good spot from which to watch the two back-to-back parades scheduled to run the Route A parade route. Neither of these things were too difficult, but getting food to eat while waiting was more challenging. Jim spent about an hour placing an order, waiting to receive his order, and delivering the food to our site. We had just barely finished eating when the parade made its way to us. If you’re interested in the parade schedule, click HERE, and you can see a list of the 2015 Mardi Gras parades scheduled for Mobile and the surrounding area. When names of groups organizing the parades are listed at the same time and separated by a comma, each group is a separate parade that follows immediately on the heals of the previous one. That is what we experienced today; we watched two back-to-back parades down the same parade route.
Obviously, this was a Saturday afternoon parade, so it was extremely family friendly. In fact, having a child with you was a plus. We came home with cups, beads, and Moonpies and a bag of candy, as shown below (we had to eat the Mayfield ice cream sandwiches immediately). The families with kids were showered with these things in addition to toys and stuffed animals. Some of the kids walked away looking like they had won the big prize at a game while attending a county fair or carnival. I’d hoped to snag some Nerf footballs, Frisbees, Hula-hoops, and/or stuff animals for the grandkids, but with families with young girls on each side of us, none of those things came our way. What did we have to do to get the goodies? Not a single thing but be there. It was a huge amount of fun, and there was a very strong police presence making sure everyone stayed safe and things went according to plan.
One word of warning if you plan to be in one of the cities celebrating Mardi Gras with parades: Make sure you know the parade times and routes, and don’t park along a parade route, or you may find your vehicle being towed as the owner of this truck found out sometime today.
This was a fun, exciting, and enjoyable experience. There were plenty of people along the entire parade route, but we did not feel crowded, which was a big plus for me because I need my personal space. Those around us were not drunk, and it was a friendly competition for the “throws.” Here are a few of the many pictures we made today – mostly shots of the great floats along with other aspects of today’s parades. I’m sorry; I can’t remember which group had each float.
We had planned to go to the night parade in Fairhope, Alabama, this evening, but we were too tired. There are plenty of parades left in the season, so we’ll go another night. Jim and I want to see if there is a huge difference in family-friendliness between daytime and nighttime Mardi Gras parades. Check back later for that update, and feel free to share your own Mardi Gras experiences with us.