Monday, March 7, 2011

Mardi Gras and Ft. Pickens


Saturday morning we met my sister Cathy and her husband Dale at their house. Our plans for the day was to go to the Mardi Gras parade that was held in downtown Pensacola.

When we arrived downtown we found a place to park and we headed to the parade route. We found a little bar/restaurant along the parade route and went in to have a few drinks and some pizza. We still had a couple of hours to go before the parade started.

At 2:00 the parade started and the crowd was ready. So were we. I decided to take my little camera due to the fact that I could keep it on my belt. I am not having good luck with cameras lately. It seems I forgot to charge the battery’s in this one so I could only take a few pictures before it died.

Here is the crowd



Cathy, Dale and Max waiting to catch some beads


The parade itself was full of different floats and there was plenty of them. As they came by they would toss different beads, plastic toy’s and of all things Moon Pies. Now I love Moon Pies so that was what I was after.


We caught our fair share of beads and I did get enough Moon Pies to feed me for awhile. The parade lasted about 2 hours. By the end we were getting pretty tired from yelling and jumping up and down to get beads thrown at us. We did get some neat looking beads and a whole grocery bag filled with others. We will give them all to my sister where she will turn them in to a group that will clean them and give them to a local handicap school that will use them and then sell them back for next year parade.

Sunday we went to Ft. Pickens. We are staying at the Ft. Pickens campground so we only had to drive about  2 miles. We made it in time for the guided tour with the ranger but we also had our own tour guide as well. My sisters husband Dale volunteers there as well. So we were in good hands as we meandered around the premises.

Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay, Florida, and its navy yard. The fort was begun in 1829, completed in 1834, built entirely by slave labor and was named in honor of Major General Andrew Pickens of the South Carolina militia.



Fort Pickens was one of only four forts in the South that were never occupied by Confederate forces during the Civil War, thanks to a Lieutenant Adam Slemmer with one company of artillery and a few sailors, aided by one U.S. Navy ship, the Wyandotte. Fort Pickens was as important as Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C. during the crisis between Abraham Lincoln's election in November, 1860 and the firing on Fort Sumter on April 12. 1861. The fort was reinforced the day after Fort Sumter surrendered, preventing the Confederates from controlling Pensacola Bay and using the Pensacola Navy Yard.

Built in the age of wooden warships and cannons firing round balls, the fort underwent changes in response to advances in weapon technology following the Civil War. Armored warships (like the "ironclads" Monitor and Merrimac) with steam engines and screw propellers, as well as larger and more powerful rifled cannons, made brick and stone forts obsolete.

Ten concrete gun batteries, including one in the middle of the historic fort, were built from the 1890s through the 1940s, each a response to a particular threat. Atomic bombs, guided missiles, and long-range bombers made such forts obsolete by the end of World War II and the Army abandoned the forts. The fort became part of a popular Florida State Park until the creation of Gulf Islands National Seashore in 1971. Following extensive repairs by the National Park Service, the fort was reopened in 1976.


21.5 million bricks were used to build the Fort. The Arch design help support the weight of the fort in the soft sand. You can also see the arc in the floor where the cannons could pivot.


Rainwater from the forts walls was channeled into these two cisterns.


Parade grounds



Embrasure in the fort wall. Cannons were fired through the embrasures from interior rooms called casemates.


A newer gun that was placed here during WWI


And a great view of the beach


After the tour of the fort we went back to the campground where Max and Cathy prepared some taco’s. Max decided on cooking the shells outside to keep the grease out of the rig. It was pretty windy and she could not keep the grease hot enough on our little burner but she still managed to do a great job.


We finished up the evening with a campfire but it was still a little cold and too windy to enjoy it too much. We have plans for some more sightseeing on Monday. For now though a Moon Pie is calling my name.

Enjoy Your Day!

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