There is nothing like a Conde Explorers Mardi Gras parade: the thunder of the drum line, the flashy costumes, and float riders raining down beads and moon pies on the crowd. Let’s start with the date. To find the parade date, Google the date for that year’s Mardi Gras and count back 16 days to Saturday. Or, Check here for an updated parade schedule.
Float loading gets the day started. We have a cookout at Calloway-Smith Middle School, 350 N. Lawrence Street while riders unpack their boxes and load throws onto their float. Beads are hung from racks, stuffed animals are placed in plastic bags, and any boxes are removed from floats. The tunes are pumping from our DJ, and the red beans and rice give you fuel for a long day. It’s time to get in the parade spirit!
To party this hard you’re Gonna need a nap
After a big lunch and maybe a nap it’s time to get into costume and get ready! Float riders attend a pre-parade party at the Mobile Convention Center. Riders come in mask and costume to take last-minute photos, get a bite to eat, and get “fired up” by a live marching band. Finally the doors open and we wade into the cheering crowd and process to the parade floats. For the next two hours our riders riders have the time of their life in an experience unique to the Gulf Coast.
If you’re wondering how can friends spot you, tell them to make a sign and tell you in advance where they will be. The crowd noise is such a rush, but it can be tough to hear and see friends in the crowd. Make sure you know where they are standing, and that they know which side of what float you are on. If you are throwing something special, put it in a soft bag—not a heavy bundle or hard box. We don’t want to hurt anyone.
So what’s it going to cost me?
- Budget $100-200 for throws. Float riders purchase their own throws. and you buy what you want. We will have a special discount shopping night at Toomies that will be announced at the monthly meetings.
- Ball tickets cost $50 each and are available at meetings. Our party starts early, has wonderful catered food, and includes everyone. This party never stops and the bar never closes!
- Costumes cost about $75. Yes, you can wear your costume from last year.
Want a hotel room? Budget another $100. Members may reserve hotel rooms that are held in a block for the night of the ball. Get information on this at the monthly meetings.
- Dues are $300 per person and may be paid in three installments for early joiners.
Can Visitors Join the Conde Explorers?
Yes! Although most of our members are local, we have many non-resident members who come into town for a weekend of fun and revelry. You can easily purchase your throws on Saturday morning, load them on a float that day, ride in the parade, and have a great time at the ball Saturday night. There are also parades on Friday night that you can enjoy while you’re in town. Mobile has plenty of fun things to do and see–come on down!