Back in 1978, some folks in Gulf Shores "decided that it was awfully quiet down here on Mardi Gras," according Judy Kaiser. So they got in their cars and put on something of a parade on Fat Tuesday.

"It was pretty simple back then," Kaiser said, "but there's been a parade every year since then. It's the oldest one in Baldwin County that I know anything about."

Now the City of Gulf Shores is in charge of the parade. Kaiser and the Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Association decided to step aside, though she helped the city make the transition.

These days, the Gulf Shores parade is a far cry from that first simple caravan of cars. Nearly any group that wants to participate can, and the parade is now up in the neighborhood of 70 units.

In 2019 the parade returned to the beach road, where it will be held again this year on Mardi Gras Day, March 1, at 10 a.m. The parade will include upwards of 35 floats and 70 total units.