Ruby, as previously noted, is my Carnival super-fan.  I like to hit the smaller parades and Endymion, but I burn out quickly. Georgia, who isn’t the biggest fan of loud noises or big crowds, likes the idea of parades but is typically ready to leave almost immediately. My husband and my stepson are definitely not parade-people.

But Ruby? Ruby lives for Carnival time. She loves the floats. She loves the marching groups. She loves the chaos and the color and the thrill of running after a good throw.

And so, while I have my own list of Carnival survival tips, I thought I’d ask Ruby, who is now 11 and has gone to parades since she was 9 weeks old, for her suggestions for having a successful Carnival:

Eat as much King Cake as you can get away with. I think, in a day, my personal record is 15 pieces – but I spaced it out over the day. Right now, I’m at the stage where I eat a piece for breakfast every day and then a piece for an after-school snack and then a piece for dessert. Sometimes I have some at school, too, if someone brings one. My mom says I’m going to get sick of it, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Muses shoes are the best throws, followed by Zulu coconuts. I personally like catching glass beads – they’re rare, which makes them more special.

Watch where you’re going! One time, I walked into the corner of a trash can on the parade route on Lundi Gras and cut open my eyebrow, and there were so many germs inside the cut that the doctor gave me this super-strong antibiotic that made my whole mouth go numb.

Always try to make friends along the parade route because you’re going to have to use the bathroom at some point.

Give beads away to people. Especially people not from here or little kids. Giving them beads will make their day, and we have too many beads already. You can also donate beads to the ARC – catching them is the fun part, not having them.

You have to wear comfortable shoes and a comfortable outfit because you’ll be on your feet all day and walking a ton. Once, when I was about 9, I made the mistake of wearing high heels because I wanted to look cute, and I got like 25 blisters, and it sucked. Not doing that again.

If you don’t get something on one float, don’t be upset. The next great thing might be on the very next float.