When hunting around the Mardi Gras parades going on all month long down here in Mobile, AL, I had a few rules:
*Had to take place in the daylight hours (figured there would be less chance of drunken debauchery)
*Had to include families on the floats (figured there would be less chance of drunken debauchery)
*Had to have a route near some free place to park (figured we'd save money where we could)
*Had to NOT be on Canal Street, the route of most of the Mobile Paraded. I had already been warned that Canal Street hosted all the bars, and I would be guaranteed to see stripping, flashing, and overall drunken debauchery.
So, when I found the Loyal Order of Firetrucks parade, hosted by the local firefighters and their families, taking place at 2pm on a Sunday, I knew that was the parade for us to try out.
Well, my rules held true, and we didn't encounter any drunken debauchery. Yay!We lucked out too that the firetruck parade, since it is more family oriented, isn't usually very crowded, so we actually had a lot of space on a nice grassy area for the kids to play before the parade came by.
And even though the parade ran so late that we (and a lot of others around us) wondered if it had been canceled (some parades had been due to budget cuts and such), it was SO FUN and SO WONDERFUL to see Little Dude enjoy his first moonpie.(Don't ask why they throw moonpies, I have no idea, and all the locals I asked had no idea either). Little Dude wasn't as into beads, but loved the firetrucks AND we got to see a really old-timey firetruck; THAT was cool!
So, that was our very first experience with Mardi Gras down here on the Gulf Coast, and it was really fun. Apparently 90,000 people go to The Joe Cain Parade in downtown Mobile; I've heard that was THE first parade, and that the big Mardi Gras tradition started in Mobile because of a man named Joe Cain, and then it spread out to most of the Gulf Coast cities, like New Orleans.
I'll have some video up soon.