Kelly Clarkson, among the most successful and credible alumni of “American Idol,” will reign as celebrity grand marshal of the Krewe of Endymion during Mardi Gras 2013, organizers announced on Thursday, Oct. 25. Clarkson will also headline the Endymion Extravaganza in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome following the parade on Feb. 9, 2013.
In addition to Clarkson, organizers revealed plans for what they claim will be the largest float in Mardi Gras history. Consisting of eight separate sections, the float will approach the length of a 300-foot football field.
The float salutes Pontchartrain Beach, the fondly remember local amusement park that closed in 1983.
Each of the eight sections of the float will be dedicated to a different Pontchartrain Beach feature, including the Zephyr roller coaster, the haunted house, the Ferris wheel, the Flying Horses, and the lighthouse.
The train-like float, which was built by Blaine Kern Studios at a reported cost of more than $1 million, is also equipped with hydraulic systems that can raise and lower parts of the float’s superstructure, depending on overhead clearance. Engineers will be stationed at both the front and back to help steer the massive vehicle around corners. It will accommodate more than 200 riders.
Endymion originated as a modest neighborhood parade in 1967; its founder, Ed Muniz, continues to serve as the parade's captain. Endymion's total membership is now around 2,700.