NEW ORLEANS — The Krewe of Endymion unveiled what it billed as the “most spectacular marvel in Mardi Gras history,” a mega-float that will hold 224 riders and stretch 330 feet long.
Endymion captain Ed Muniz said that the krewe has already conducted tests (with the help of the Krewe of Orpheus) and knows that the float, which is still under construction and was not available for viewing, will be able to turn the necessary corners during the parade.
The logistical challenge at the moment, Muniz said, is figuring out enough horse power to pull it. Muniz said the krewe is looking at using the type of tractor that pulls jets across the tarmac.
It will be the “largest float ever,” krewe president Dan Kelly said. The float carries on Endymion’s 45-year-legacy of imagination and innovation, he said.
Kelly said that the original plan was to debut the float for Endymion’s 50th anniversary, but the krewe decided to “hurry it up” in time for the 2013 Mardi Gras that will be split by the Superbowl, extending the winter revelries into a three-week-long extravaganza.
Damon Bowie, designer at Blaine Kern Studios, detailed each “unit” of the float, which will be modeled entirely around the historical Pontchartrain Beach amusement park. Muniz said he was hoping to add two additional sections of the floats, given that it still will be able to turn the corner.
The float will include replicas of the Zephyr roller coaster, the carousel, the Ferris wheel, the “Wild Maus” ride, the haunted house, bathing beauties, the “Musik Express” ride and the iconic clown face that appeared in various reincarnations at the park.
The float also will display an elaborate light show.
“One of the most inspiring things has been the unbridled enthusiasm of Mr. Muniz,” Bowie said of the planning process.
“He pushed me to my creative limits.”
Bowie said that the intention was to mimic the design of the original rides, evoking memories of the park, which closed in 1983, while at the same time adding an updated Endymion-inspired vision.
“Endymion welcomes pop superstar Kelly Clarkson” as the grand marshal of the “world’s biggest parade to the world’s biggest party,” Muniz said.
The theme of the parade will be “Ancient Mysteries.” The krewe also unveiled new throws, including 50,000 inflatable beach balls, plush clowns and lighted medallion beads.
Joined by a handful of city leaders, Councilwoman Susan Guidry addressed Muniz, Kelly and the rest of the krewe’s older generation.
“Thank you for always being children,” she said. “Thank you for not growing up.”