You have entered the den. A den is the social gathering room for mystic societies, most often adjacent to their float barn. Floats in Mobile parades are designed each year around a specific theme determined within each organization. The frame of the float is a flatbed truck or hay wagon enhanced with wood framing. Papier-mâché creations over chicken wire form the basis for the design. Each float can accommodate as many as 30 maskers and can take 8-12 weeks to fully construct. Generators provide electrical power.
On display are replicas of two floats. Let’s look at the larger float entitled, “Celebration of Mardi Gras in Mobile.” The fireworks represent a celebration; the cowbell, rake, and pick representing the Cowbellion de Rakin society, Mobile’s first mystic society; the owl and moon signifying the midnight hour in which they first paraded; and the azaleas represent Mobile, the “Azalea City.” Take note of the matching costumes, which illustrate how masker’s costumes support the float design.
Now be sure to board the float and walk across the rear walkway to experience firsthand what it feels like to ride a float!