Jeff Goudey, head wreck, our leader of KOW for many years, dear friend left us all, for the Krewe in heaven on Nov.14. 2019. He will live on in our heart forever.

Krewe of Wrecks 2021-22 Season Guide                                                                                                                           Updated Dec. 2021

If possible, you should obtain a copy of "Beat of an Island Drum", the book written about Mardi Gras on Pensacola Beach by founder (with Larry Geisel and Frank Douglas) and original Head Wreck, Jane Waters Cooper. It details how the krewe originated in 1979 to provide something for residents to do and customers for local establishments in the slow winter months in Paradise. As time went on, other krewes formed, with the Wrecks as the umbrella krewe and the organizing entity behind the Krewe of Wrecks Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras Parade on the Sunday preceding Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday.

My purpose in this document is to acquaint people new to the krewe and perhaps even to Mardi Gras with what to expect as we continue to evolve. Previously I sent it to everyone and received enough thanks that I’m sending it out again now that we have signed up most of our members.

Wrecks meetings begin on the Monday before Halloween with a costume contest. We continue to meet Mondays at 5:30 pm, visiting most of the restaurants and bars at Pensacola Beach according to an annual schedule featured on our membership cards, in weekly emails, on the krewe’s website (www.kreweofwrecks.com), and in the Island Times Newspaper. Our host features happy hour drink prices and treats us to hors d’oeuvres, though there has been a little adaptation in this Covid year, as some of our hosts battle shortages of staff and decreased profits. 

The Board:

  • VP Wreck Melanie Hotard Waite has stepped in as Head Wreck, following the passing in 2019 of Jeff Goudey who began as Running Around Wreck in 2006. As board members come and go, jobs get reassigned. Melanie continues to keep records, check people into events, send emails, chair the Queens Dinner, etc. along with presiding over meetings and other presidential duties.
  • SecWreck Kathy Christoff sells memberships and event tickets and collects/processes our mail.
  • TreasWreck Jim Cox handles the financial end.
  • Parade Chair James (Jim Mike) Knell schedules the Monday meetings and events, and of course, heads up the parade.
  • Newest board member Don Richards helps with parade registration and media, serves as liason with other krewes, and thanks venues where we hold meetings and events.

Then there are the Chairs:

  • Matt and Judy Schall - float 
  • Debbie Mays - Flloat Riders
  • Harry Purcell - Photography
  • Jayne Atkins - Name Tags 
  • Ella Hess and Charlyle Parrish - 50-50
  • Trish Tierney - Ball, vacancy; Breakfast and Fiesta Decorations  
  • Ella Hess - Historian 
  • Trish Tierney - Costumes
  • Tommy Grice - Red Beans and Rice 
  • Publicity - Shelley Johnson 
  • Brenda Purdy - Starfish Parade 

And more…. My apologies if I’ve left you out. It takes so many people to keep the Wrecks rolling.

To join, attend a meeting, fill in a membership application, and pay your dues. We socialize, may have a theme for the evening, have a short “business meeting.” Eat, drink, and meet new friends. Wear purple, green, and gold and accessorize with beads and Mardi Gras hats, or dress for the night’s theme, if there is one. Buy a krewe shirt, bead, or clip. Or come as you are. (more details at end).

Along the way, we achieve some community minded goals with financial and volunteer assistance: collect food and donations for Manna Food Bank; donate to local organizations and events such as Good Samaritan Clinic, Covenant Care, Elks Putt-Putt, and others…. We volunteer at the Kids and Kritters Parade and participate in various events held by other Krewes.

Our first parade is the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Surfin’ Santa Christmas parade. We decorate the float for Christmas, don Christmas attire ourselves, and throw toys and beads to Beach children and adults.

Meetings end and special events begin two weeks before Mardi Gras, and the season ends with the Fiesta of Five Flags All Krewe Ball in June. Each special event ticket is purchased separately. Ticket sales end at our last regular meeting or when we reach maximum capacity. You must have your ticket to enter an event.

The Kids and Kritters parade and the Krewe of Wrecks Grand Costume Ball lead off two Saturdays before Mardi Gras. Each has a different theme each year, and ball attendees may dress according to the theme or wear formal attire. It’s a busy day as we decorate for the ball in the morning, help with the Kids and Kritters parade in the afternoon, then transform ourselves for the ball. The 2022 theme is “ Happy Days (Are Here Again).“

Two days later, on Monday, guys assemble at Crabs for the Kings Supper. Ladies, meanwhile, gather at Flounders for the Queens Dinner. For these two events, all past and current krewe captains and kings wear hats, crowns and krewe jackets while first mates and queens dazzle in tiaras and sparkly finery.

On the Saturday prior to Mardi Gras, the Wrecks attend the Champagne Breakfast at Crabs. You won’t want to miss this. Buy your tickets early, as this event will sell out. Each attendee gets his or her own bottle of champagne to toast the new royalty and a souvenir glass to drink from. Be prepared to tie napkins together to hold overhead and sway in time to the singing of the Wrecks song. Identities of the new Captain and First Mate of the Wrecks, their Ships Officers and Deckhands are announced.

The party then moves to Bamboo Willie’s, for the Street Dance, following the tradition of stopping traffic briefly to have a second line parade into the street (or parking lot) as our new court begin their reign.

Sunday we are back at Pensacola Beach celebrating the Wrecks parade with thousands of revelers. The Grand Marshal and new court will lead the parade in convertibles, followed by about 50 units from a variety of krewes and organizations. Floats compete for awards based on costumes, theme, throws and best use of color. Those interested in parading should meet with Float Captain Debbie Mays for details. Be prepared to provide your own throws and costume. We’ll also need convertibles with sober drivers and sober safety walkers for the float.

On Mardi Gras Monday, the Wrecks sponsor the world’s largest free lunch. We serve the traditional Red Beans and Rice with New Orleans French bread and beer at the Sandshaker. Yes, it’s free, but tips are gladly accepted. Soft drinks, and water are available for purchase. Enjoy the music of Boogie Inc and take a turn around the “dance floor.” Buy Wrecks memorabilia and raffle tickets. Laissez les bon temps roulez! (Let the good times roll!)

Finally comes Mardi Gras/Carnival (Carne Vas) /Fat Tuesday. Florida hasn’t figured out that the day should be a holiday as it is from Louisiana through Alabama, so we drag ourselves to work, then meet at the Sandshaker at. At 6 pm. We’ll have the lighted hat contest, crown the new Coma royalty, King Ted Dampier and Queen Lynda Knell have engaged Boogie Inc to play music beginning at 5 pm. Festivities end with a procession to several beach establishments, ending up at Paradise by 8 pm, for the Shoebox Float Contest.

Notes:

Mardi Gras originated in France. The first Mardi Gras in the New World was celebrated in Mobile, but it reaches the heights of frivolity in New Orleans. Wrecks does describe our state after all our partying, but it really is a play on the name of the premier krewe in New Orleans, Rex. Similarly, Coma, our krewe within a krewe which exists on Mardi Gras Day, is a takeoff on Comus, another well known New Orleans krewe. Those who followed our original route to a dozen Beach stops did feel like they had reached the coma state by midnight, when the clock chimes to begin Lent on Ash Wednesday.

Check other Mardi Gras activities promoted in the Island Times and other regional media for events held by other krewes. You’ll want to go to at least some of them: Twelfth Night blessing of the floats in Pensacola. Balls sponsored by a variety of krewes, including Bananimals, Brewe, and St. Patrick at Pensacola Beach. Nereids Moon Pie Party and King Kake Party. Brewe’s Beach Babe contest. Nauga’s theme/PJ Party. Shaker’s Wigwacker Party. Parades in Navarre Beach, Pensacola, Perdido Key and more.

Shoebox Float:

The contest is Mardi Gras day but don’t wait until the last minute to make yours. Life gets hectic once special events kick in. The best time is during the two-week hiatus from meetings over the holiday break.

Photo Ops:

We have fantastic krewe photographers, Harry Purcell, backed up by longtime krewe photographer DJ Zemenic ,who take photo all through the season. There will be a photo booth set up at the ball to take photos of you with your significant other, best friends, etc. in your special outfits. And last, but far from least:

DRESS CODE:

For krewe meetings and most events of our krewe and others, wear Mardi Gras Colors: Purple, Green and Gold, signifying Justice, Faith and Power. Wear Mardi Gras hats, feathers, beads, clips, shirts, vests, krewe jackets, etc. You may want a special hat, jacket or vest to display krewe pins. It is not appropriate to wear crowns or tiaras to your own (unless you are reigning royalty) or to other krewes’ events. The exceptions are if those royals proclaim a special day for wearing them or it is an event for royals of multiple krewes such as the Fiesta All Krewe Ball.

For Wrecks Events:

Halloween Costume Contest: costume singly or as a group, prizes Tiara Nights: wear tiara or hat, possibly decorated as decreed by the queen (most krewes have kings and queens, Wrecks have captains and first mates, which terms may be used interchangeably) or Theme Nights. designated by ruling court: such as Football Night, Cowboys and Indians, Pirates, Flip Flops etc.

Kids and Kritters: dress for the theme or in Mardi Gras attire

Grand Costume Ball: dress for the theme of the year or go formal (costume contest with prizes)

Kings and Queens Dinners: Kings wear crowns or captains hats; queens, first mates, and just about everyone else wear tiaras.

Champagne Breakfast: Fancy krewe attire, or krewe shirts, Mardi Gras colors, hats and “jewels”

Street Dance: Come as you were at the breakfast. Bring beads to throw to the people in cars when we stop traffic, a white napkin to wave, maybe a Mardi Gras parasol.

Parade: If you are on the float, consult with the float captain about what to wear.

Safety walkers dress according to regulations. Court members will receive specific instructions. Everyone else dresses for the weather in Mardi Gras attire.

RB&R: Dress for the weather and Mardi Gras.

Coma: Wear a fancy lighted hat, prizes for contest winners. Mardi Gras attire as weather appropriate. Bring a few beads to throw to customers at The establishments we visit.

Behavior: Dance, eat, drink, and be merry, but don’t overdo, especially if you have to drive through Gulf Breeze on your way home.

Head Wreck Melanie

Photos by Tommy Grice.

REMINDER – One reason Wrecks was founded was to bring patrons to Island venues during the off season when business is slower.

We are asking venues to revert to putting out munchies, like  the original popcorn, pretzels, or chips and dips.

Let’s show them that Wrecks are there to
increase their revenue while we socialize, plan Mardi Gras festivities, and participate in good
works.

The Krewe of Wrecks, formed in 1979, is a Section 501c Corporation (social clubs) and donates to various local charities.  We are dedicated to making Mardi Gras on the island a community celebration that helps charitable organizations and local businesses in the off season. And hey, it's just fun!!!!