It’s almost here! Mardi Gras is without a doubt one of the highlights of the year and the upcoming Mardi Gras events in Panama City, Panama City Beach and St. Andrews are set to be bigger and better than ever for 2010. As we prepare for bead throwing season, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes or how much work goes into putting on a memorable Mardis Gras parade? What are the benefits of being involved with such a fun-oriented organization?
The Krewe has been going strong since 1997 when the Krewe of Dominique Youx approached the community of St. Andrews with the idea of relocating their parade from Bay Point to St. Andrews. That same year, the St. Andrews citizens formed their own Krewe, now proudly known as the Krewe of St. Andrews. Bruce and Marcia Avery joined the Krewe just last year in 2009, and were referred by friends. When I asked them what advantages there are to being part of a Krewe, fun was right at the top of the list! “We really enjoy the social aspects of being a member of the Krewe, including meeting lots of great people from all walks of life and working together to create something so exciting” said Marcia Avery, adding that her favorite part of the preparations are when the Krewe get together to build, paint and decorate the colorful floats from scratch.
Krewe Mission: To focus positive attention on Historic St. Andrews by bringing people into the area to enjoy the Mardi Gras Parade as well as to generate funds to be invested in improving Historic St. Andrews.
Preparations for the Mardi Gras events actually started back in October, when the new King, Queen, Prince and Princess are elected, and the royal courts are set up accordingly. The Krewe of St. Andrew’s also works year-round giving back to the community by contributing to several local charities and to local colleges for scholarships. In 2007, $3,600.00 was awarded to charities and colleges including the Boys and Girls Club, Margaret K. Lewis School, Girls, Inc., Haney Technical Center, FSU Panama City, and Gulf Coast Community College.
Another exciting part of being a member of the Krewe of St. Andrew’s is that every year, you get to attend the King and Queen’s ball! This extravagant affair is an opportunity to dress up in a ball gown or a tuxedo and enjoy great food, drink and entertainment in the company of your fellow Krewe members.
Did you know? The Official Mardi Gras colors were chosen in 1872 and are purple, green and gold. These colors stand for the following: PURPLE – JUSTICE, GREEN – FAITH and GOLD – POWER.
St. Andrews Mardi Gras for 2010 will be held in historic St. Andrews on February 12th and 13th. The kid’s parade commences at 4:00 pm on Friday 12th (along with a pet parade!) and the Main Parade will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday 13th. Additionally, there will be lots of delicious and authentic food and drink available, kid rides, live music, plus some great bands will be performing both during the day and at night! You can also see the Krewe of St. Andrews in action on January 29th and 30th in downtown Panama City, and February 5th and 6th at Pier Park in Panama City Beach.
For more information on the events, questions about becoming a Krewe of St. Andrews member, or festival vendor information, please call 850-763-6261 or visit the official website.
Photos courtesy of Bruce Avery.