Mardi Gras came and went before I learned about the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus. The investigative journalists of the New York Times got there first:
But elsewhere [in New Orleans], alternative plans are being made — by “Star Wars” fans drinking beer out of a seven-foot-tall cardboard robot that conceals a keg.
Bar2D2, as the robot is called, is the mascot of the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, which runs a ragtag operation dedicated to all things science fiction. In two years, the group, which started as a drunken joke in a bar, has become the quickest-growing krewe in the city, and a center of the amateur costume culture in New Orleans.
The Krewe attracted 400 marchers in 2011. Since then founders Ryan Ballard, Brett Powers and Kira Haubrich have managed its continued growth, which includes a proliferation of subgroups like the Space Cadets Marching Corps and the Krewe du Who. The group naturally has its own redshirt Security Forces, too.
The 2012 march proceeded despite heavy rain. The Uptown Messenger liveblogged the parade and its transcript plus a raft of photos are online:
Chewbacchus featured an armada of hand-built science-fiction themed “floats” drawn by bicycle or by hand, as well as dozens of individual krewe members in detailed homemade costumes that were unfortunately hidden by plastic ponchos in the downpour. After a late start in hopes that the rain would clear, the parade took an abbreviated route from its starting point on Clio, around to St. Charles, down Felicity and down Camp to the Howlin Wolf for the Chewbacchanal ball. Along the way, spectators were greeted with an outburst of generosity and gratitude for braving the weather to watch the parade.
The Krewe of Chewbacchus website is cleverly written and rewards browsing with many a laugh. Take their FAQ. A lot of science fiction conventions wish they had the nads to adopt this membership badge policy:
Why do I need a Droid Collar?
The Droid Collar (aka wrist band) allows you to march in the parade AND it is your ticket for the Chewbacchanal. It also admits you into reserved Krewe areas and gives you access to Krewe ONLY FREE beer and FREE food/snacks.
What happens if I don’t get a Droid Collar or lose it?
You are completely fucked and we will keep your money and drink your beer and we will sacrifice you to the Mayan Space Gods. You will not be allowed to parade with us or permitted to enter the Chewbacchanal without a wristband.
The photos of this event aren’t the best but it still looks like serious fun.