Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade – Orange Beach, Alabama (February 21, 2012)

Fat Tuesday in Orange Beach

This was it, Fat Tuesday. People began arriving hours before the 2:00 p.m. parade and many brought smokers, food, and footballs. I saw one bunch with a Rebel flag that had an upside down picture of ex-President “W” printed on it. I was dying to know what the flag meant, but I didn’t want to hear about black helicopters, so I kept my mouth shut.

People and floats line up along Perdido Beach Boulevard before the Orange Beach Mardi Gras parade. (Click to enlarge).

One guy by our condo had a big smoker going. I told him to let me know when he was going to start serving, so that I could come back and get a plate. He was not amused.  Where’s the love?

At parade time, the weather was perfect – 67 and sunny. The crowd was in a great mood. One guy was smoking a stinky cigar and I saw a few people drinking beer across the road, but it was a gentle scene. Several of the Brett-Robinson employees who work at our condo were taking time off to watch the parade; they later gave some throws to our daughter.

A good-natured crowd lines Perdido Beach Boulevard. (Click to enlarge).

I had my younger daughter, while my wife had our older daughter. Just before the parade, I talked to two snowbirds from Madison, Wisconsin, who told me that they had been in Orange Beach last year during all of the protests in Madison.

The Parade

The parade combined floats from several mystic societies. There was just one marching band – from Gulf Shores High School. (This was the third time that we’d heard them in five

The Gulf Shores High School Band (click to enlarge)

days). The kids played well, but after a sax player got done, he turned and spit in front of the crowd. The Mojowoman played sax and she assures me that this was completely unnecessary.

Ronald McDonald rode by and threw our elder daughter a mini-Barbie. When she saw him, she shouted, “Red Hair! Red Hair! Red Hair!”

Two Ms. Senior Baldwin Counties rode by in convertibles. They were dressed up and doing the beauty queen wave.

Ms. Senior Baldwin County 2012 (Click to enlarge)

There were no barricades, so when the cars stopped, several women surged forward to talk to the queens.

The Shriners had men in fezzes driving little cars. One Shriner shouted “Merry Christmas!” and said that he was late for the Christmas parade. Then he said that he was early for the 4th of July. The guy was dressed as a clown and our older daughter loved it.

The Maidens in Pink Stilettos had attitude to spare in their black and (of course) pink  outfits. The ladies threw a ton of pink beads – and only pink beads. Their float blasted LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I Know It.”

Frontline Ministries’ black-and-white float slung fire and brimstone. As usual with such groups, the young people were out front while the elders were invisible. Frontline sucked the cheer out of the crowd. Much better was a truck band from a local Methodist church. Their band sounded great on “All Right Now” and “Louie Louie,” their throws were nice, and they weren’t overbearing.

Frontline Ministries (Click to enlarge)

Toward the end of the parade, I was looking through my camera when one guy shouted, “Hey! Stop taking pictures!” then threw me a huge string of pink beads that I gave to the Mojowoman. Because of the huge beads, the Mojowoman calls it her “Wilma Flintstone necklace.”

This guy is about to throw my wife's "Wilma Flintstone necklace" to me. (Click to enlarge)

Aftermath

Afterward, the Mojowoman remarked that next year our elder daughter will be too big to hold during Mardi Gras. The girls loved the parade, but were slightly disappointed because their parents mistakenly told them that they would see horses (oops).

The snowbirds had been more generous in giving throws to the girls at earlier parades. The Mojowoman suggested that people were tightfisted because this was the last chance for loot until 2013.

As we headed back, a snowbird from our condo said that our girls were beautiful and that they’d gotten their looks from their mother. (She was right on both counts). I get a kick out of the snowbirds; they are great examples of active, fun seniors.

Mojo “Awards”

Best Throw –the fake rolls thrown from the Lambert’s Cafe float. Lambert’s, of course, is the home of “throwed rolls.”

Lambert's "Roll Throwing Dude" was part of their float. (Click to enlarge).

Worst Float –Frontline Ministries – it was out of place and didn’t make me want to join their church.

Frontline Ministries. (Click to enlarge).

Most-Notable Throw – a Mystics of Pleasure (MOP) doubloon with the group’s name and a Rebel flag.

Catchiest Tune –tie between the Pink Stilettos with LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I Know It” and the Methodist Church with Free’s classic “All Right Now.”

All Right Now - The Methodists Rock (Click to Enlarge)

Throws We Collected – in addition to those already mentioned, we got: beads, a frisbee, Moon Pies (including an orange-flavored MP), a KitKat (that I gave to the Mojowoman), and several stuffed animals (a bird, a dog, a ladybug, a platypus, and a fish).

It’s always sad when Mardi Gras ends, but you can still indulge on Sundays during Lent…

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