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Organizers discuss safety measures for Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras parade

Organizers discuss safety measures for Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras parade

The Krewe of Wrecks Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras Parade is one month away.

Thousands of people line up along Via De Luna to watch the floats go by and catch some beads.

Escambia County Sheriff's Office deputies and parade organizers want to make sure participants and parade-goers stay safe during the popular event.

Many of the rules are what people can and should expect like drivers must be sober and all trash must be picked up.

Sheriff's officials said breaking some of these rules can result in floats being kicked out or krewes being fined.

It's become a tradition to celebrate Mardi Gras on the beach the Sunday before Fat Tuesday.

Last year, a record number of people made it out to watch the parade. However, bigger crowds can sometimes mean bigger problems.

On Thursday, members representing most krewes who want to participate in the parade gathered to go over some of the rules they'll need to follow.

Jeffrey Goudey, the head wreck of Krewe of Wrecks, said the parade has become so big barricades are needed to control the crowds.

"We've had up to 150 floats with no barricades and everything," Goudey said. "It got kind of dangerous with people running out in front of floats and everything, so now we have barricades and it's a safe environment for the family."

Drivers will not be allowed to throw beads or other trinkets.

Also, floats aren't allowed to start throwing things until they've reached the barricaded areas.

"If you think about setting your children over there to get beads off the ground because not all of them are going to make it to the fence, don't do it because they'll get you. It's just for their safety. For everybody's safety, stay behind the barricades," Goudey said.

The Krewe of Gatsby Girls loves to take part in all of the parades.

With over 100 members, not everyone can ride on "Daisy" the float.

Shelly Nutt, float chair for the Krewe of Gatsby Girls said, "We do have eight to 12 spotters that will be walking alongside us and then there's always somebody at the back to make sure that if a krewe member needs to get on or off the float that we can make sure that they are on and off safely."

It's can be easy for any krewe to get lost in the fun, but safety should always be their top priority.

Jessica Reeder, a member of the Krewe of Gatsby Girls said, "So what we try to do is really drill that in before we get to parade time by going over with the girls. Make sure you're not throwing beads before we get to the barricades. Make sure that your standing in your one spot. We prep before we get there so everybody's beads are out. You're not having to do a lot of work once the float is actually moving."

Every krewe that wants to participate needs to have insurance just in case something were to happen.

The Open Container ordinance on the beach will be suspended for this event from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 11.

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