When one thinks of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, images of cocktails, smiles, beads, parades and floats enter one’s mind. This year, partiers will no doubt experience the same festivities. However, this is one added bonus: Revelers can take part in history. The Krewe of Endymion will showcase the world’s largest float when the parade rolls Saturday, Feb. 9.
It’s one of the 2013 Mardi Gras’ biggest attractions. Literally. At 365-feet long, the megafloat built to the theme of “Pontchartrain Beach Then and Now,” tells a story of the local beach attraction that most of New Orleanians grew up attending. It’s complete with a lighthouse segment, dedicated to sunbathing at the beach, and will project sounds of a roller coaster and laughing clown. It will also emit smells of popcorn and cotton candy.
The $1.2 million-float is big enough to house 250 riders on 25 float segments. Because the riders add up to 1,000 pounds to the weight of the float, its structure needed to be outfitted with industrial strength material to hold up the weight. Additionally, a specialized heavy-duty tractor was located in order to pull the float. The tractor is capable of pulling 190 tons. A spare tractor will be on hand just in case the first one fails.
One of the biggest concerns of Captain Ed Muniz was navigating the tight turns on city streets as the float snakes through its usual parade route, tossing out unique throws (Beads and trinkets) to throngs of people along the route. Have no fear, Muniz said. With the help of the New Orleans Police Department, the float has already made a dry run with success.
The creators didn’t set out to build the largest float. It’s just that in New Orleans, people seem to always seem to make ordinary tasks bigger and more festive than before. Plus, to capture the true essence of Pontchartrain Beach, the float had to house a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, carousel and gigantic clown head.
Take part in history. Come out and see Endymion roll.