When I toured Anheuser Busch Brewery a few months ago, I never dreamed I would be walking with the Bud Light Marching Band!
The morning of the Mardi Gras Parade, I rolled out of bed after only 4 hours of sleep. I had decided the night before that I wanted to see the parade and hopefully be in it. I had met a gal named Terry who said she thought I could be a spotter for a float she was on. All I knew was that it was float number 72.
I drove as close as I could get to the starting point and walked the rest of the way. I was lucky and found a parking spot about three blocks away. It was in a lot full of cars, but a sign was posted saying no parking. Well, it was there or go home. I decided to risk it and hoped my car would still be there when I got back.
I passed part of the parade and saw some drag queens in the front. Too late to join them; maybe I would find some other group. I arrived at the starting point of the parade just as the Bud Light band was getting ready to start. Might as well ask, all they can say is no. So-o-o . . . I asked one of the band members if I could join them, and he replied, "Do you play an instrument?" Well no, but I do enjoy music. I think his final comment was that he didn't care, so off the band went with me right behind.
Walking/dancing behind the band and listening to the crowd was exhilarating. The first cheer from some gals on the curb got me in the mood, and from there on my feet took over and my hips started swaying in time with the music. There were a few negative comments from some young guys in the crowd, but mostly cheers. People kept throwing beads to me, but that wasn't what I was there for, so I just kept grabbing them off the street and tossing them back into the crowd.
I couldn't believe how many people were down there. I thought Pridefest parade was crowded -- this was far beyond what I had expected. The first few policemen I saw made me worry about being pulled out of the parade. At one point, a policewoman started walking toward me. I just kept looking forward, stayed in beat with the band and closed ranks a bit. She just passed behind me and went to the other side of the street. Whew!
Somewhere near the market I heard a booming female voice say, "Well, I never saw that before." I turned to the side and realized I had just passed the Parade Stand. I must have been doing some fancy footwork.
About 3/4ths of the way through, one of the band members invited me up to the front. From there, one of the gals carrying the banner gave me some beads to throw. I noticed she had a pretty pink set of heart beads and told her not to give them to me because I would want to keep them.
I don't know how long the parade route was, but in heels it was definitely long enough for my legs and feet. We finished the parade, and I thanked them for allowing me to join them. Several invited me back next year. I hope they still feel that way a year from now.
Oh, and the gal gave me the pink beads.
Click on images:
After the march, I wandered around the streets, through the crowds. Most everyone was friendly, but there were guys down there that had some pretty crude comments. I don't think I would want to be at Mardi Gras in the evening. I saw a few people from some of the nightspot that Lisa and I go to. I also saw a few gals from the club, but they didn't make the parade. I am looking forward to next year, if anyone is interested let me know and maybe we'll get a group to march together.
Top of Page