Organizers are gearing up for the 2015 Mardi Gras season with a host of parades — on land and on the river — Feb. 7 in Livingston Parish.
Many of the krewes are now taking applications for participants.
“We’re preregistering now, but we will also take entries until that day (Feb. 7),” said Margaret Humphreys Walker, Krewe of Denham Springs parade organizer.
The Krewe of Denham Springs Mardi Gras, which generally features about 30 floats and vehicles, is allowing riding groups on horseback and horse-drawn covered wagons for the first time in its 35-year history.
“The horses go with our theme,” Walker said. This year, it’s “Urban Cowboy.”
The parade will begin at 3 p.m. Feb. 7 and will start from Denham Springs High School and Yellow Jacket Boulevard, travel south on Range Avenue through the Antique District, before turning west on Florida Boulevard and ending at Veterans Boulevard.
Entries will be judged and three prizes — the King’s, Queen’s and Jester’s Awards — will be presented. Judges will eye “the float itself, how it’s decorated (in conjunction with the theme), its colors and how the riders’ costumes are directly related to the theme,” Walker said.
Anyone interested in participating in the parade can contact Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (225) 715-1850.
Also celebrating the Mardi Gras tradition and the spirit of giving on Feb. 7 are members of the Krewe of Diversion.
The 21st annual Krewe of Diversion Mardi Gras Boat parade will start at noon under the La. 22 bridge at the Diversion Canal, organizer Vivian Stevens said.
Boats will spend four to five hours — rain or shine — on the water raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “It isn’t a long route at all,” Stevens said. “But, wherever people are, the boats pull up to the dock and throw anything — beads, stuffed animals, even fruit,” Stevens said. As the trinkets are thrown, crew members hold out fish nets for paradegoers to donate cash for the St. Jude’s hospital. Last year, the krewe raised $37,500 for the cause. This year, members are trying to break the organization’s highest record of $57,000, which they netted shortly after the parade originated, Stevens said.
“We always want to raise more than the year before,” she said.
Stevens said her husband, David Stevens, and brother Harry Stevens started the parade after being involved with the Tickfaw Boat Parade for years. The second year after starting the Krewe of Diversion, the duo agreed to raise money for a charity. They picked St. Jude because “I know the money is spent where you’re donating it to,” Vivian Stevens said.
T-shirts and food also will be sold to raise money.
After the parade, one boat will be chosen to receive the award plaque. That boat, Stevens said, will be the one in which members don the best costumes and display originality and spirit.
An auction will be held following the parade, Stevens said.
Stevens expects more than 30 entrants, depending on the weather.
Registration for the Krewe of Diversion will start at 6 p.m. Feb. 6 at Mannys, 19706 La. 22. The cost is $35 per boat. For information, call David or Vivian Stevens at (225) 939-2135 or (225) 324-5695.
In addition to the Krewe of Denham Springs and the Krewe of Diversion, the city of Walker is accepting entry forms for the Walker Mardi Gras Parade at 6 p.m. Feb. 7. The parade will begin at Walker High School, travel down Burgess Avenue to La. 447, down Florida Boulevard to Palmetto and back to the high school. Entry forms must be submitted to the city of Walker by Feb. 5. Entries are free, and forms are available at www.walker.la.us.
Trailing behind the host of Feb. 7 parades and celebrating in Valentine’s Day style is the Krewe of Tickfaw Mardi Gras Boat Parade. The boat parade will start at 2 p.m. Feb. 14 on the Tickfaw River, 27225 Patterson Road, in Springfield. The theme for the parade is “Party Animals,” and all proceeds will benefit Swampy Paws Canine Rescue in Killian. The cost to enter is a $30 donation.
Entry forms are available at www.facebook.com/TickfawMardiGras. Entry forms and fees may be mailed to 20317 Fairway Drive, Springfield, LA 70462.
Forms and fees may also be turned in at Boopalus, 29669 La. 22, Springfield; or Riverstop, 31539 La. 22, Springfield. A mandatory captains meeting is scheduled Feb. 12 with location and time to be announced soon, organizers said.