For Mardi Gras float makers, next year is here

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“It’s a constant process,” he said. “It’s like an assembly line.”

With the revelry of Fat Tuesday at hand, Mr. Kern’s preparation for Mardi Gras 2013 already has begun.

“We already have all the designs for all our major clients for 2013, and we’ve already got props and things picked out,” Mr. Kern said. “Literally, the day after Mardi Gras, we’re back to work, and the process gets started almost immediately.”

Besides Mardi Gras, Mr. Kern’s studio has clients in Japan, Korea and theme parks across the country.

“There are a lot of municipalities all over the world that want to copy what we do here in New Orleans because it drives tourism,” Mr. Kern said.

Besides float-building, Mr. Kern’s studio is a tourist attraction. Tour guides take visitors to see Mardi Gras World’s displays and sculptors and artists at work.

“I’m awestruck by some of the props,” said Debra Sanders of North Sioux City, S.D., just after her tour of Mardi Gras World recently. “It was very nice, very entertaining. I enjoyed it.”

Paul Thompson of Cheshire, England, said he was surprised by the quality of the work.

“It was very intricate and very colorful, much more professional than what you would surmise from a once-a-year Carnival,” Mr. Thompson said. “It’s quite amazing.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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