Safety Tips for Carnival That You Need to Know!
I have been very lucky of late to experience Carnival season in a way that not many people are able – “in” the parade, but not on a float. My husband is in law enforcement, and works a detail escorting one of our area’s finest marching bands. I am able (for a few parades at least) to join him in the passenger seat and I have just a few safety tips for y’all.
1. Stay out of the street
This just cannot be overstated. I never dreamed – before I saw it from this perspective, how many people linger in the street, even with a huge, loud, marching band coming up. There are so many people out on the route, on both sides of the street, on the floats, everywhere, and there is just no way the tractor drivers who pull the floats or the vehicles who drive in the parades can see everyone. Also, no one wants to get body checked by a band or dance team momma, we ladies don’t play and y’all know that.
2. Keep the kids close
You could turn your head for a second and they would be gone! There are so many people, getting lost would not be hard. I saw a very cute post this year where some parents made Tay-Tay style bracelets with the parents’ phone numbers on them. A cute additional measure, but keep the little ones close.
3. Don’t fight over plastic. There will be more plastic.
Even if it was meant for you, from your friend. All is fair in love and parade throws, and you don’t want to start a fight over something dumb. If the window in the vehicle I’m riding in is open, I can hear whole conversations from the route, and it’s a good idea to be as nice to your parade neighbors as possible. On the route, as with most things, you catch more flies with honey.
4. Stay out of the street.
Yeah, I know, I already said this one. But, it’s a big problem. Of course, I’m not talking about when there’s a huge gap between floats and you run to the sidewalk side because that’s the side your cousin is riding on. I’m talking about those who consistently hop off the curb only to stand there in the street, run after the floats, put their hands under them to retrieve – you guessed it – plastic.
5. Don’t tell your kids that police officers will “take them to jail” for being bad
This is something that concerns my husband year-round. When he sees parents with their children while he is in uniform, and they tell their kids that HE will be the one to dole out discipline if they are bad, he winces – and educates them. He has worked very hard during very challenging times to be a person who people can go to for help – especially children. Though it seems to be light hearted, a statement like this can often breed distrust. Talk to your kids before y’all are on the route. If they get lost, do encourage them to go to law enforcement. They may be tired or cranky, but there’s no police officer in the state who wouldn’t jump into action for a child who was lost or needed help.
All of these are based on things I have observed from a passenger’s perspective during parades – something not many people get to see. Most people involved in a parade are pretty busy, throwing, driving, marching, dancing – shoot, I’ve seen some of the folks in these dance troupes do several of these things at once! So, if they don’t apply to you, awesome; keep up the good work and have a blast! If you maybe have been hanging out in the street a bit, not a big deal, back it up a little and have a safe and Happy Mardi Gras!