For first weekend parades:
1. Just go, if you feel like it.
2. It won’t be too crowded so you can show up late and find a spot with no trouble.
3. Enjoy! These parades are smaller so don’t expect to come home with a ton of throws – just soak it all in. Appreciate the floats and the riders. Take time to snap some photos.
4. Don’t forget to dance when the bands pass by!
5. You can still wear your tiara – see below.
For the big parades, starting with Muses:
1. Avoid driving if you live near the parade route. Bicycling or walking is a better bet.
2. Get your sweetheart or a friend to carry a mostly empty cooler with you to the parade route, and get there before the parade starts if possible. Store some drinks and a snack and an extra layer in the cooler if necessary, but no ice.
3. Find a spot on the parade route that’s a driveway or some tree roots so that no one has set up a ladder. Set up your cooler back a little from the curb, but not on the sidewalk – just in that “sweet spot” about six feet back from the curb.
4. Now you have choices. During the parade, you can either stand on top of the cooler (be careful!) and get some height and wave from the back, making eye contact with the riders, or if the float stops or you just want to go up to the floats, you can do that too.
5. I should mention you’re watching the parade somewhere where there aren’t barricades. Which means not on Canal, not at Lee Circle, and not at the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon, among other places. We like to watch a few blocks on the downtown side of Napoleon, but everyone has their favorite place.
6. I should also mention that you are wearing something a little crazy. A tiara, a hat, perhaps a wig, and extra makeup. This is true for men too, if you want. Don’t forget the glitter. The ultrafine sparkly stuff. Put it on your face -carefully!- and anywhere else. Bring some for your friends.
7. If it’s a night parade, you can also wear things that light up, like glow necklaces or blinking light earrings. My sweetheart is a fan of both!
8. Be pleasant and polite to everyone around you. If you catch a giant wad of beads, share them. If you catch stuffed animals, give most of them to the little kids. You can also put favorite goodies you catch into the cooler – that’s part of why you brought it.
9. Once you’ve caught one of a cool throw, like the Tucks squirting toilet, share the others with fellow watchers – I mean, how many squirting toilets do you need? This is true of spears, frisbees, footballs, swords, etc. too.
10. Smile! Dance when the bands come by! Soak in the sights! Every once in a while when a float comes by, don’t try to catch anything – just watch. Take pictures. Marvel.