Founded in 1996, the Loyal Order of the Fire Truck began almost by accident.

A Daphne resident, who was a member of Mardi Gras groups in Mobile and Baldwin counties, bought a 1950 Mack fire truck from the Bon Secour Volunteer Fire Department.

"Of course I bought it. Who wouldn't want an old fire truck?" the group's founder asked. He drove the truck in a few Baldwin parades, then decided he would build a parade around it.

"We were determined to be organized about the whole thing," he said, "and it was disorganized from the get-go."

The group parades in Daphne on Joe Cain Day. Out of respect for the Joe Cain Procession, the LOFT begins its parade one minute earlier, at 2:29 p.m.

In the spirit of Joe Cain Day, LOFT is a true peoples parade with homemade floats and decorated vehicles of all kinds. Membership has few requirements: If you show up and parade, the founder said, you're in.

The first parade had six floats, and there were more people in it than were watching it. Nowadays, the LOFT has as many 32 floats and draws thousands of spectators.

This year, the LOFT parade will begin at 2:29 p.m. on February 11.

 Loyal Order of the Fire Truck