Tag Archives: parade

Shot of the Week

Mardi Gras 2011 Thoth parade route

Beads thrown from the floats get caught in trees off the parade routes. You can still find them dangling there all year long.

Thanks for reading all our Mardi Gras 2011 coverage this week! Let us know if you’re going next year…

Tara for TKGO

Mardi Gras 2011: Get More Swag!

Mardi Gras is all about sharing. When you want something your neighbor caught four of, you’ll believe me.

But there are some items you won’t give away, no matter how much little kids stare and adults drool. Ladies and gentlemen, TKGO picks the top throws from Mardi Gras 2011:

Mardi Gras throws 2011 bacchus rex endymion zulu musesSo how do you catch these awesome things? A few tips:

Beggars can’t be choosers. A sign that reads “Mini Hurricane Glasses, Please!” will only get you angry glares. But at the Muses parade, an all-women krewe where the coveted throw is a hand-decorated high heeled shoe, the more playful, less demanding signs (“Mama needs a new pair of shoes!”) got plenty of laughs from krewe members and a shoe for the spectator.

Make eye contact with one krewe member on the float. It doesn’t necessarily take words to form a friendship. Don’t forget your manners! Thank them afterward for what they throw you—they may toss something else your way!

Befriend spectators standing next to you. If they know you want something they already have, trade! (They also may know someone in the parade, which can’t hurt.)

Sing the Saints song or show some general spirit. Who from New Orleans doesn’t cheer for their teams? Krewe members do…

And if you’re really desperate, hang out at the parade origin to hear the announcements of which float each krewe member is assigned. Call their names as the float passes by and hope you look like someone they actually know.

Any helpful tips or favorite throws? Share them in the comments!

Tara for TKGO

Anatomy of a Mardi Gras Parade: Krewe of Thoth

The parades are central to Mardi Gras. It’s where you get the beads, hang out with your friends and, for some (most), carry your booze around with you in the street.

Each parade is organized by a krewe (pronounced “crew”), whose members pay for everything they throw to crowds from the floats, from beads to high heeled shoes. Member dues, which can be thousands of dollars a year, pay for float construction and costs associated with the ball typically held the night of the krewe’s parade.

Though the number of floats and length can vary, many feature roughly 30 floats and last for about two hours assuming there are no delays (which there inevitably will be). The bands, cheerleaders and step teams from local schools aren’t restricted to marching in just one parade, so you’ll see them in many as krewes typically give the schools funding in exchange.

Check out some highlights of the Krewe of Thoth (pronounced “toth”) parade through Uptown this year. Thoth was founded in 1947 and its parade is sometimes known as the “Parade of the Shut-Ins”—its route passes 14 institutions for persons with disabilities and illnesses.

Parades run through Fat Tuesday, when the first two still-active krewes march through the streets. The city goes back to “normal” on Ash Wednesday. (It’s all relative.)

Tara for TKGO

Chinese New Year 2010

The Ox is out — make way for the Year of the Tiger! If it’s your year (if your birthday was in 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998… or 2010), you are supposed to wear an article of red clothing every day for good luck. Apparently, a red scarf or even earrings will suffice, so that could be doable! Tigers are unselfish, independent, daring, impulsive and noble.

We’re both big fans of Chinese New Year celebrations. Tara went to the parade this year in Chicago’s Chinatown, and growing up, Karina has celebrated the holiday with her family.

The present: Chicago does it right

This year, like many, Wentworth Avenue was packed with Chicagoans wandering the streets and hanging out in every dim sum joint and bakery in Chinatown hours before the parade. Unlike in China, when not a single person works during the New Year, all the Chicago restaurants, shops and bakeries face the biggest business days of the year. Here’s a look at this year’s parade and celebration, from behind throngs of onlookers.

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Tara for TKGO

The past: A family tradition

In early elementary school, Chinese New Year was about gold coins, red envelopes and re-reading Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year (great book, by the way). Once my family adopted my little sister from China when I was nine, celebrating the holiday became much more involved. My family joined the local chapter of Families with Children from China, and my mom became one of the group’s organizers. In fact, one of her major annual undertakings was planning and executing the organization’s Chinese New Year celebration. The events were cultural blowouts of food, (hello, unlimited Chinese buffet) music, activities and performances. We took over a restaurant for it every year, and the event sold out every year. We had lion dances, yo-yo artists, ribbon dancing, martial arts and one year, a famous Chinese paper cutter.


I always looked forward to the event, and now that I’m away from home for the holiday, each year when the day comes around, I feel as though I am missing something.

Karina for TKGO