New Route For Long Beach Parade

No Mardi Gras parade is complete without the traditional beads, doubloons and people yelling "Throw Me Something, Mister.'

In Long Beach, that tradition also includes a ride down 5th street, but this year, tradition is about to change.

The Carnival Association of Long Beach will roll along a slightly different route when it hits the street, later this month.

Believe or not, having the biggest, most spectacular float in the parade does have its drawbacks. Members of the Long Beach Carnival Association say years of maneuvering through their traditional route has made the 42 foot trailer accident prone.

"The last few years, each of our floats, in fact, the float you see behind me has a skirmish with the light pole and did the best we could to not tear the pole up. Tore the float up but not the pole." said parade president Jason Green.

A slightly bent pole, is evidence of just how much trouble turning narrow corners can be.

"Most floats would have to back up 2 or 3 times just to make the turn and it's just a matter of safety" Green said.

For safety's sake the Carnival Association and the Long Beach Police department came up with a new route.

It will still start on Jeff Davis, but instead of turning on fifth street, the parade will head on to Highway 90, then turn onto Cleveland Avenue, where the parade will wrap up at the High School.

Changing direction, could also have another benefit. Green believes more people who love the thrill of catching beads and doubloons could also be lured in by the additional parking the new route will provide.

"People were leaving their cars on the street two or three days ahead of time but now with the extension of the parade there is more, more and plenty of ample parking for everyone to go to." Green said.

Although some people who've long enjoyed watching the floats along 5th Street may be disappointed, organizers believe their decision will make the parade run a whole lot smoother.

The Long Beach Mardi Gras parade is Sunday, February 15 at 2 p-m.