Friday, February 5, 2010

Historical Orders / Parades: Mobile Mystics (Secret Society)

2PM Saturday Parade

Mobile Mystics History

1993-94 - Founding

The Mobile Mystics Mardi Gras organization was founded in May of 1993 with hopes of having a Mardi Gras parade in the 1994 Mardi Gras season. The charter membership was comprised of 52 members who quickly obtained use of Mardi Gras floats from another organization and made plans to stage their first parade. Upon hearing word of the city's refusal to grant a parade permit, the theme of the ball for 1994 was quickly named "DAMN THE PERMIT-FULL SPEED AHEAD".The Inaugural Ball was held at the Mobile Convention Center on Wednesday, February 9, 1994. This was the first Mardi Gras ball held in the new facility and continues to be the home of the Mobile Mystic's Annual Ball.

1995 - "Inaugural Parade"

Immediately following the 1994 Mardi Gras season, plans were made to parade in the 1995 season. Again, use of floats was obtained and all thoughts and efforts were centered on staging a parade in 1995. In the fall of 1994, the City of Mobile sent word that a permit would be issued and finally, our stage was set. The city granted a permit for Saturday February 18, 1995. This day and time would make the Mystics unique in that no other society paraded on a Saturday afternoon and held its ball on Saturday evening. The parade was held on an absolutely beautiful day with 126 riders in costume. Thousands came downtown that day to see the newest Mardi Gras society take to the streets of mobile. The theme of the ball was " Southern Gentlemen". The emblem of the Mystics, Admiral Semmes, was first revealed at the ball. Costumes for that year were designed and manufactured by Bienville Costumes.

1996 - "Hakuna Matata"

The southern gentlemen did not waste any time preparing for the 1996 campaign. Parade day was set for Saturday February 10, 1996 and "Hakuna Matata" was selected as the theme. During the year, the membership grew to 162 members and a float barn/den was purchased. What did the Mystics need with the new barn? The answer was floats. Five floats were purchased and constructed that year by the membership along with help from Odom Enterprises. On Saturday, February 3, 1996, the Mystics were the proudest bunch in town that day, showing off not only the new floats, but also hosting their first open house in their new facility. Over one thousand people, consisting of mostly family, friends, and curious visitors from other societies braved the bitter cold that day to witness history, the Mobile Mystics were here to stay. Once more, perfect weather graced the parade day and thousands came downtown again to see the latest parade and ball production.

1997 - "You Da Man"

In the Spring of 1996, new leadership was elected and the first active, functioning Board of Directors went to work planning for the 1997 season. The theme "You da Man" was selected by that Board and plans were made to build 5 additional floats. By doing so, they would no longer depend on another society to help out. The decision was made to design and manufacture all new costumes for the 200 plus membership. This would be the first themed parade with float designs and costume designs to match the theme. Float design and construction was by Hal Odom and Odom Enterprises. Costumes were designed by the costume committee and manufactured by Barbara Boshell. The board of directors decided that the president and emblem of the order along with his escort would lead the fourth annual ball. Ten floats depicting police man, mystic man, fireman, Batman, music man, Spiderman, Funnyman, Gambling man, Garbage Man and the Emblem- the CSS Alabama took to the streets that Saturday afternoon under once again beautiful skies. The Adams Mark Hotel was the official host hotel for the weekend.

1998 - "Rock and Roll Valentine"

With a parade and ball date of February 14, 1998, what better theme than one featuring Valentine’s Day? The Board of Directors selected "Rock and Roll Valentine" as the theme for the Fifth Anniversary parade and ball and quickly went to work carrying out that theme with construction of 10 floats depicting Doctor Love, Hunka-Hunka Burning Love, Love Train, Love Hurts, Love is a Battlefield, Radar Love, Jungle Love, All You Need is Love, When it’s Love and the ever present Emblem float featuring Admiral Semmes. With the ever growing membership and anticipated guests at the ball, the Board of Directors decided to use the entire lower level of the Convention Center, expanding the ball room size to over 100,000 square feet. The original "Wet Willie Band" with Jimmy Hall was the featured entertainment at the ball with over 4,000 guests in attendance making the 1998 ball the largest ever. The board of directors commissioned Ms. Joan Daugherty of Mobile to design a special 5th Anniversary Mardi Gras poster. Over 288,000 marshmallow "moonpies" were thrown to the parade spectators that day, along with thousands of pounds of bubble gum, beads, doubloons, and goodies. Once again the weather was outstanding. Float designs were by Manuel Ponce of New Orleans with construction of floats and costumes by Odom Enterprises.

1999 - "Channel Surfin"

Just as soon as the 1998 season was over, work started on the 1999 Mardi Gras season. With at least one TV in every household, and with a variety of programs to watch, the theme "Channel Surfing With the Mobile Mystics" was chosen. Another float was added bringing the total number of floats in the fleet to eleven. The newest was designed to be a title float announcing the parade theme each year. All Officers and Board Members ride on this float along with various committee chairmen. The Emblem was moved to the title float and ,along with the emblem float, the parade consisted of floats depicting various TV channels and programs. The TV Guide featured Westerns, Sports TV, MTV, Wildlife, Science Fiction, Horror films, Cartoons, Home Improvement, and Automobile Racing. On February 6, 1999, the 5th Annual Parade took to the streets and was followed by the 6th Annual Ball. The membership, still at over 200, threw over 345,500 marshmallow moonpies that day along with thousands of pounds of other Mardi Gras trinkets and candy. On load up day, several members of the Krewe were featured on the "Where is Darwin" TV program. With the Adams Mark hosting most Mystic members and guests for the weekend, a large pre-parade party was held in the hotel lobby on Friday, February 5, 1999. The "Gretsch Rockin' Cats" entertained several hundred until the wee hours of the morning. Just as the Friday festivities were finishing up, Saturday had arrived and it was time for the parade. The ball featured the "Atlanta Rhythm Section" and several thousand friends, family members, and guests attend once again. For the first time, each float group had its own table at the ball where decorations were placed along with some specialty food items. Stage design and construction was by the stage committee and ball committee. Costumes were designed by and manufactured by Barbara Boshell with float design and construction by Craig Stephens and Carnival Artists.

2000 - "Rememberin the 1900's"

Once again, on the day preceeding the 6th annual parade, the president and emblem of the Mobile Mystics along with members of the krewe were on television live from the Mystics float warehouse with the television celebrity Darwin Singleton. Later that night, the annual party in the lobby of the Adams Mark Hotel was hopping to the sounds of live entertainment until the early hours of the morning. After all the get ready parties, float load up, decorating, and anticipation leading up to the parade and ball , it was finally time for the biggest celebration of all.

On Saturday, February 26, 2000, beautiful weather once again blessed the Mobile Mystics , and the stage was set for their largest parade ever. The theme "Remembering the 1900’s was selected, and each of the floats in the procession addressed a particular decade in the past century.

Later that evening, "Flashback, Mr. Big, and Gretsch Rockin’ Cat along with help from DJ’s and other live entertainment, the Mobile Mystics had more guests attend the ball than ever before. Queen Deanna Toifel graced the ball as the 2000 queen. Costumes for this year’s parade and ball were designed by members of the costume committee and made by Bienville Costumes . Floats were designed by Craig Stephens, and construction was once again by Carnival Artists The large crowd danced the night away, and the Mobile Mystic members left that night wondering how they could ever top this. The answer was quite simple-just wait until next year.

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