Slideshow: The Real Cost of Mardi Gras

By Yvette Romero - 2012-02-17T20:56:10Z

Photograph by Gerald Herbert/AP

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For about 150 years, Mardi Gras Krewes -- private social organizations -- have been putting on parades and balls during the Carnival season. Krewe members pay fees that range from $20 per year to thousands of dollars. Big Krewes, such as Krewe of Bacchus, appoint a national celebrity as its monarch: This year Will Ferrell will be their "God of Wine." All told, the Krewes and its members, who often spend additional amounts, shelled out nearly $13 million last year on floats, throws (such as beads), costumes, licenses, party venues, and food -- from Mardi Gras Mojitos to King Cake -- according to Weiss.