The first Mardi Gras parade in Mobile County will roll Saturday, February 1. For the 20th straight year the Krewe De La Dauphine will have that honor. The parade will begin at one 1 p.m. at Ft. Gaines on Dauphin Island and travel west past Dauphin Island Elementary School.
Members of the Krewe De La Dauphine (KDLD) were busily putting finishing touches on this year’s floats Friday. Kicking off the parade season is an honor the association has come to cherish and members are looking forward to big crowds.
“We just got past the bad weather. We’ve got good weather coming in this weekend so everybody’s even more excited with that on top of us so we’re hoping for a really great turnout,” said KDLD president, Rick Henderson.
This year’s theme is “KDLD Throws a Party” and after 20 years of parading, lots of folks go down to join in. Along Bienville Boulevard lots of folks have already staked their claim to their favorite spots along the parade route. The Dauphin Island Campground is already at capacity and will stay that way through next weekend.
“Mardi Gras is a phenomenon down here that just is one of a kind and like I said, it brings in business here and we’re completely packed,” said Executive Director of Parks and Recreation for Dauphin Island, Matthew Capps.
Greg Vrachalus and John Moralis bring their families to the campground for Mardi Gras every year for and said there’s no better place to go.
“It’s Mardi Gras. We’re filling this place up and it’s going to be a two day party for sure,” Vrachalus said.
“There’s easy parking, easy getting around, it’s not as crowded, there’s not as many rules, but nobody really messes up. It’s very family oriented,” Moralis added.
So if you want to go down and join the party to bring in Mardi Gras, Dauphin Island’s ready for you, but you might want to take a hint from someone who’s done it before.
“If you’re going to get down here to Dauphin Island, you’d better bee over the bridge by I’d say 11 o’clock,” Henderson suggested. “If not, you’re going to be in traffic for a little bit.”
One last piece of device from the 2014 KDLD queen herself.
“Just have fun. Just make it a good trip, a good ride and have fun,” said Judy Barnickel.
The Krewe De La Dauphine parade gets underway at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. It will start at Fort Gains and run 5 miles west, to just past the Little Red Schoolhouse.