GCCA float den getting busy as Fat Tuesday approaches - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

GCCA float den getting busy as Fat Tuesday approaches

(Photo source: WLOX) (Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX) (Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX) (Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX) (Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX) (Photo source: WLOX)

Fat Tuesday is now less than a week away. That means the various krewes are starting to get serious about their Mardi Gras parade preparations.

The countdown is on. T-minus six days and counting until fabulous floats greet the massive Mardi Gras crowds in downtown Biloxi.

Those floats are getting decked out and loaded down at the Gulf Coast Carnival Association's float den.

“Getting ready for Fat Tuesday. We're unloading all of our throws for the parade. We're real excited to be a participant,” said Lori Bickel, of Biloxi Regional Medical Center. “We've been participating with Gulf Coast Carnival Association for about 25 years.”

“Being on the float, I love to see the people's expressions,” said Emily Burke, also with Biloxi Regional. “It's amazing how many friends you get along the parade route when they first hear your name. It's like everybody's calling for you.”

Doug Blom is the float designer and builder for GCCA. He has been doing it for 30 plus years. He knows what's essential.

“Well, they must have a bathroom,” Blom said with a chuckle. “They must be bright and colorful and room for the people. We started putting boxes on them a couple years ago, so they can put their beads in the box instead of trying to hang everything. It makes it a lot easier to throw that way.”

Butch Oustalet is a former King of Carnival. His team is making sure the float is properly prepared.

“Lot of dealership beads. Going to be beautiful, beautiful throws,” said Greg Hebert.

“We've got more than enough, I would think, but number wise, I don't know if I can count that high,” said Cole Patronas, as he loaded more beads onto the nail hooks.

Getting ready to let the good times roll. Mardi Gras fans can hardly wait.

“The celebration of a coastal tradition that's been going on forever. I just think that everyone should support it, and everybody ought to be out there having a great time. I just love the feel of the Coast and the energy that happens on that day,” said Andi Oustalet.

Along with those mandatory bathrooms the float-builder mentioned, another necessity on each float is a portable generator to power lights and music.

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