General info for parade participants

If you haven’t participated in the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade before, here’s what you need to know.  It is fun, it is easy, it is colorful, but it works better if everybody understands how parades work:

  • The parade is “organized” by the Clarendon Alliance, and we encourage everybody that wants to participate, to participate. The key thing is that this is a fun, community-oriented event. Wear what you want, and do what you want, as long as it’s legal.
  • Once you register, you should consider yourself registered.  Start work on your float or pull together your group.
  • We keep registration open until about a week before Fat Tuesday, but we prefer that people register early.  Please note that we close Mardi Gras bead orders before we close parade registration. (This year, the bead order deadline is January 31). This allows us to get the stuff shipped and delivered, and gives us time to work out the parade layout.
    • If weather seems like it might be a problem, we’ll be putting updates on the Mardi-Gras website.  If we have to cancel the parade, we’ll make the announcement on the website and email all the parade entrants.
    • Because we are doing the Mardi Gras Ball, if the parade is cancelled, we will NOT try to reschedule the parade.  Instead, we invite everybody to come to the Mardi Gras Ball. Parade entrants get discounted tickets.
  • Parade staging never works perfectly, and if the parade order gets messed up a bit, it is not a problem.  We’re not being televised. Here’s some other things to keep in mind about parade staging….
    • We don’t have participant parking–you are on your own.  You might want to make your own “marshaling plan” so your team can reconvene after the parade. (We really want you to come the the Ball, which is why we’re offering you discounted tickets).
    • If you are buying MG swag through the CA, we’ll deliver your order in advance of the parade to the address you select.  Trying to hand out boxes on the evening of the event is a proven recipe for disaster.  We don’t do it.
  • When the parade starts, Mind the Gap.  We roll out section-by-section, and we have to keep the parade moving evenly.  We try to estimate speed for various groups, but it IS a parade–your group has to keep moving!
    • Important:  Keep an eye to the front, as in two car-lengths behind, and an eye to the rear.  If the group behind you is falling behind, your group should SLOW DOWN.  Then, the group in front of you will see YOU are falling behind, and THEY will slow down, and eventually it becomes evened-out again.
      • Try to maintain a couple of car lengths between you and the group ahead, and the group behind!
    • We’ll have barrels and tape on the Parade route this year, to prevent “choke points.
      • Kids might ignore the barriers. Sadly, some parents don’t either, in a scramble for throws of free candy.  Which is why…
    • If you’ve got throws–Throw Them High and Deep!–OVER the Barrels!
      • If you plan to hand out favors, please create a reasonably-sized team to do it.  One or two people stop to chat with friends, the group slows down to wait, and that’s how the parade stretches out.  Please keep it moving!  As well, we need YOUR help to keep the parade route clear!

When you get to Liberty Tavern, turn right, watch for congestion, drive safely, but keep going!  The buses that will return Ballou Band will be parked near Red Top Cab. Please keep the street clear of vehicles!

Thanks for being a participant in the Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade!  We know you will have a great time!