Mardi Gras year-round
In “Mardi Gras World” is always a carnival. A family contract from New Orleans has created huge moving platforms for the best and largest Mardi Gras parades for 60 years.
The company exhibits its latest designs in a 300,000-square-foot warehouse: a magical world of papier-mâché, fiberglass, plastic and millions of flashing lights, populated by pharaohs, superheroes, fairies, gorillas and many other creatures.
The attraction is quite popular both among tourists and among local residents.
22-year-old Serena Skuse from England shares her impressions of the platforms: “It’s amazing how great and skillful they are! I can’t get to the real Mardi Gras, but I got a great idea of what the carnival looks like. ”
Other visitors, including dozens of students at St. Stanislav High School in Baton Rouge, come in with their mouths wide open, filming the wonders that spread before them on their cell phone cameras.
“Look look!” – exclaim the girls. Even the most modest guys pushed each other with their elbows, passing by the busty copies of Marilyn Monroe, Wonder Woman and harem girls for every taste.
A tour of the Mardi Gras World costs $ 18.5, including a 12-minute film and the opportunity to dress up in some costume and take a picture. The guides show the guests the platform, the workshop where the scenery is made, talk about the customs of Mardi Gras and history. The tour ends with a huge piece of cake, a traditional treat covered with cinnamon and sugar, and coffee.
The Kern family is the creative force of Mardi Gras World. Blaine Kern, the artist’s son, began building platforms when he returned from World War II. Years later, he and his family became known for the extraordinary design of their products – including mega-platforms for the so-called super-crus (organizations that hold parades).
“We do not make platforms for parades. We make them for better parades, ”says the son of Kern Barry, who now heads the Mardi Gras World.
The case began with a warehouse of 70,000 square feet on the west coast of New Orleans, but in recent years it has moved to a larger room where visitors can watch the work of craftsmen completing their works and see the platforms that will be out for the parade this year.
Mardi Gras usually takes place on February 16th, but parades begin on weekends around January 30th. Mardi Gras World provides platforms for 18 parades per year, including Rex platforms, known as the King of the Carnival, Zulu, Bacchus, Endymion and Orpheus. All of them will be released on the last carnival weekend and will be seen by at least a million people.
Each year the theme of the parade is new. Even those parades that use the same mega-platforms from year to year, try to update them and coincide with a new topic.
Mardi Gras World produces platforms not only for local parades, but also for similarities in amusement parks around the world – including Japan, Korea, Singapore and Paris. “Every day, our company is part of a parade somewhere on Earth,” says Kern.