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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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BE THERE OR BE SQUARE

Carnival is coming and the floupes and troupes are busy, busy, busy. Glitter, glitter everywhere. No glue on the shelves of local merchants. Seamstresses bent over sewing machines. Carpenters nailing up Carnival booths. And the very air crackling with excitement.
Thirty years ago my wife and I became Gypsies. The floupe/troupe became our extended family. That first night we walked into a room of strangers only to find our sponsor was unable to attend. No matter, we were made to feel at home and never looked back.
For you neophytes: a troupe is a group of people who go down the street in the Adult Parade wearing coordinated costumes. A float is a mobile display with people on it. A floupe is a combination of a float and a troupe.
For years we had a very definite Float Committee. They designed and built the float. Some of us were allowed to putter around and help a little here and there, but there was no question who the major players were.
Then there was the Ring Master, the choreographer of the floupe. This gentleman would stride authoritatively into our midst shouting commands guaranteed to bring order out of chaos and produce a syncopated thing of beauty. Of course when the chips were down, most of us were having too much fun to remember our directions, but then our friends would think of something and we would all move with the music and the mood, producing a reasonable facsimile.
The troupe's activities begin with the new year. Idea people hone their suggestions for the costumes. Meetings are held to pump up excitement and stroke dormant brain cells. Finally the themes are presented and the membership cogitates. A decision is made and the concept fleshed out. Bits and pieces are ordered, and the handwork begins.
Of course the Carnival Committee comes up with a theme for the year, and the troupe modifies its concept to fit. The entire time is one big party with special times that include eating meetings and picnics over half a year.
It is now the 11th hour. Materials are cut, glue is dabbed, glitter is spread and the grand finale approaches. Are you ready? Will you be a spectator or a participant? Some say there are only two alternatives for Saturday morning: watching or moving down the street. Both are necessary for the greater dance that is Carnival.
Be there, or be square.

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