Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Parade is largest in Long Beach Carnival Association history

DARRIN WILLIAMS/SPEICAL TO THE SUN HERALDThere was music at the Long Beach Mardi Gras parade.
DARRIN WILLIAMS/SPEICAL TO THE SUN HERALDThere was music at the Long Beach Mardi Gras parade.

LONG BEACH ­-- The largest parade in the history of the Long Beach Carnival Association rolled through the streets of Long Beach on Saturday without incident.

The brisk temperature of 60 degrees would not keep the masses at bay. When the clock struck 6 p.m., it signaled the start of the 45th annual Long Beach Parade.

Seasonal favorites like "Mardi Gras Mambo" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" started blaring as the 61 floats/ units came thumping down the streets.

If somebody went hungry on the parade route, it was not for lack of choices. Everything from Southern barbecue, chicken and beef on a stick, carnival type foods all the way to Asian style cuisine was available within a three-minute walk along the parade route.

All the classic Mardi Gras throws, beads, lots of beads, Moon Pies, coins and stuffed animals were there and then some floats threw things like glowing finger apparatuses and glow sticks.

The theme of the parade was Enchanted Forrest. "This is the largest parade we have ever had, "Carnival Association of Long Beach President Mike Gundlach said. " We raised over $80 thousand for charity this year."

Gundlach said this is his last year as president. When asked if he had any advice for whomever takes over for him Gundlach simply said, "Good luck."

"The Long Beach parade is about fun and family," Queen Rosalie 2016, Angie Johnson, reminisced about attending the Long Beach parade growing up. "I loved the togetherness and now it is a family tradition."

Riemann Family Funeral Homes' Jason Green, who served as the master of ceremonies at the CALB Ball on Friday night, called the CALB "carnival with a purpose" and they live by that.

"It is not a social club," Green said.

"All funds raised by us go directly to charities." King Scott LVI, Kent Nicaud said. "Everything we raise goes to local charities."

Owner and namesake of the "Scuba" Steve Clothing Company, "Scuba" Steve Johnson served as the grand marshal.

"I have been coming out to the Long Beach Parade since I was a kid," Johnson said. "This really lifts my spirits after my battle with cancer over the past year."