“Throw me something, mister!” Crowds yell it to float riders in a parade as it rolls down the streets of Lafayette, Lousiana.
If the float riders are ladies, you might hear the same phrase but with “sister” used instead of “mister.”
No matter what people shout out, they all want one thing: to catch loads and loads of beads, trinkets, toys and doubloons thrown by members of the krewe.
You might think the plastic beads and toys are worthless knickknacks. You would be mistaken. Krewe members and float riders spend hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars to buy the throws so parade watchers can have a good time and experience the thrill of catching something.
“People are paying for the rock-star experience,” said Greg Grace, owner of Beads for Less on Pinhook Road in Lafayette. “You get to be a celebrity on the stage in your town.”
Grace should know. He is a veteran float rider and belongs to no fewer than three Mardi Gras krewes. He also owns a Mardi Gras store that sells every kind of throw a krewe member might need.
So what does it cost to ride in a parade? Depending on the parade and krewe, the cost can be substantial.
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