Mardi Gras is big business in the South. New Orleans is famous, of course, for its Mardi Gras debauchery, but Mobile claims to have started the parading tradition.
Regardless, my favorite parades are on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, in Daphne and Fairhope. These parades are fun, family friendly, and the crowds are small enough that you are sure not only to make new friends, but to catch at least a couple of throws. A throw is a Moon Pie, some beads, or a trinket that maskers throw from the floats. Why the masks? Um, they belong to secret societies. You're not supposed to know who they are.
In Daphne, there are 2 women's krewes and a men's krewe that parade annually. I've made some observations about them.
The women's krewes, Apollo's Mystic Ladies and Mystic Order of Persephone, throw a lot of beads. Women are thrifty, generally, and they buy used beads and throw them again next year. Or they attend other parades, catch beads, and throw them in their own parades. This is completely understandable, of course, as these women are putting out their own money for everything they throw, and they are not wealthy by any means. What is noteworthy, though, besides the abundance of beads, is that they tend to throw at little children behind the barricades. If you are cute and maybe wearing doodly-floppers on your head, duck - beads are definitely coming your way.
The men's krewe, The Shadow Barons, throw more "consumables." This would include Moon Pies and other edibles. They like to throw at a target or challenge. If you are standing in the bed of a pickup truck with a laundry basket or bushel basket, with a poster saying "Can You Hit This?" the Shadow Barons will take this as a personal challenge. Be prepared for a haul.
I'm not saying one is preferable to the other - they're just different.
Male and female created He them. Viva la difference! (That's French for "Laissez les bons temps rouler.")
What differences will you celebrate today?