The Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade is always full of surprises, even for its organizers.
“I don’t know what to expect sometimes, and that’s the neat thing about it,” Bruce Childers, president of the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Association said last week. “It’s not the pomp and circumstance that you might find in a New Orleans big-time parade, the real nice floats, that’s great and everything, but we’ve always wanted to gear this parade to the working guy, the average Joe, let’s say, and leave it up to the imagination. We give them a theme to play with, and the talents take it from there.”
The ever-popular and often politically incorrect parade pokes jabs at everyone from politicians to big-name corporations, this year’s target being British Petroleum. The theme is “BP Blows and Wiki Leaks.”
“We chose this year’s theme because it was more or less a current event, but we certainly haven’t lost sight of the fact that there was a loss of life in there, so we’re not trying to minimize the effects that the BP disaster had on family members and friends,” Childers said. “Our hearts go out to them, truly, we wish we wouldn’t have had this theme, to be honest with you.”
The parade, which will roll through downtown and Spanish Town Saturday, will honor Zappe Endeavors (Zappe’s potato chips) founder Ron Zappe, who passed away in June.
“He was such a supporter of ours,” Childers said. “He played a big role in the parade, of course, was in the parade every year, and helped us in some financing from time to time.”
Childers also explained that in the midst of all the carnival mayhem, this is a charitable event raising money for local causes. The money is generated from parade float entry fees and tickets to the association’s annual ball.
“And we had a very successful ball this year, so we’re ending up with a little more money for the charities. We did well.”
Childers also had some advice for where not to catch the parade.
“I don’t think you want to get on Spanish Town Road, because that’s pretty much standing room only. We do have an area by the St. James (Episcopal) Church on Convention Street that is the alcohol-free family zone. And also, they’re doubling up with the Smoke-Free America. We’re actually the first in the state, maybe in the nation, to provide a zone such as the alcohol-free zone, and now this is the first year that the Smoke-Free America has gotten involved with that area.”
Childers said that barricaded area is very popular, and there haven’t been any problems with people conforming to the rules for that space.
With the parade only a day away, Childers is looking upward.
“I’m wishing and hoping and trying to dial up a good day weather-wise.”
Looks like it's gonna be a wet one... but, who cares? Party on!!! =D