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Whom can you thank for these fabulous celebrations and costume balls? Well, there is great history and tradition behind Mardi Gras and masquerade costumes but the greatest party throwers could be the Krewes. The parades of Mardi Gras are sponsored by the krewes, the same krewes that hold private balls for members only. Not every krewe has a parade, although every krewe will throw a party for its members (how nice!). So what's a Krewe? The simplest explanation, Krewes are private social clubs with restrictive membership policies. The first was established in 1857 when a group of men formed a secret society called the Mystick Krewe of Comus. Comus planned the first parade, a showy, outrageous parade and as they say “the rest is history”. You may wonder what makes these celebrations so great. Keep in mind; the French in New Orleans were having private masked balls and parties since 1718. They've sort of worked out the “kinks” if you will, of what makes a good party. And the good news is some (although few) krewes allow the public to buy tickets to their balls - Endymion and Orpheus, are two. So, as you are celebrating and catching your doubloons in your fabulous mardi gras costume, remember to thank those who dared to be different for the sake of good fun!