Crunch time for GCCA float maker - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Crunch time for GCCA float maker

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

With Fat Tuesday about a month away, its crunch time for the man who builds the floats for the annual Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade.   

Doug Blum re-purposes and builds floats from scratch, but this year Blum is working on repainting and touching up a few floats. We met up with Blum Sunday to find out what you can expect to see along the parade route. 

Blum has about a month before the floats he's been touching up and repainting are due to roll on the parade route.  

For the last few weeks Blum has been working on the floats for the Gulf Coast Carnival Association, it's something he's done for 30 years.

"I enjoy it. I still can, mainly. And then when I get too old to, which I'm already 70, but when I get too old to climb a ladder and get up and down then I'll have to quit, I guess," Blum said.

Blum didn't build any new floats this year, but he did build two in 2012 and  he says the process is a lot like building a home.  

"It's just like you build a house. You frame it up and then instead of putting siding on it and sheet rock inside you put the sheeting in it and paint it," said Blum.

Floats have come a long way since when Blum first started constructing them in 1983. Today, he says all his floats are around 13 feet tall and up to 35 feet long. They're also flashier with large crowns, and colorful digital signs.

"The stuff that sparkles, everybody likes the sparkly stuff when the sun hits it," said Blum.  

Now every float comes equipped with a bathroom as well as hooks and boxes to hold the beads and a generator to power the music you hear throughout the parade. 

Though they may not look large inside, each of these floats can safely hold 20 to 30 people. Blum says all 23 of these floats are pulled by National Guard humvees on the day of the parade. But while they're kept in the float barn, he's moving the floats around with a John Deere 4 by 4 gator that his wife gave him a few years ago.  

You'll be able to check out all his work in the Gulf Coast Carnival Association's parade on March 4 in Biloxi.  The parade will begin at 1 p.m on Fat Tuesday. For a full list of other Mardi Gras parades and routes click here.

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