By Heidi Glaus
WORDEN, Ill. (KSDK) - When you live in a town of less than 1,000, traffic is a non-issue and weekends are often what you make of them. Back in 2007, A.J., Jeff, Walker, Greg and Billy decided to make the most of a mundane day.
"We were just kind of sitting around bored and wanted to go to Soulard, but didn't really want to leave town so we just kind of threw our own thing together. We had a bunch of beads leftover from the year before and hopped in the back of Walker's truck and drove through town and that was it," A.J.Harshbarger explains.
They returned to Wall Street the following year with twice as many trucks, meaning two instead of one and well over the years their little parade in Worden, Illinois has gotten rather big.
"If everybody shows up plus a few more another 30, 40 floats and stuff," Harshbarger says.
None of those, however, can complete with the redneck pontoon.
"The girls go on a girls trip and come back with an idea and they say this is what we'd like to do," explains one of the husbands, Bill Dittmar.
He's the man who has to take that idea and put the wheels in motion.
"We were going to just pull a pontoon behind the pick-up truck, a real one," Dittmar says.
But that would have been boring.
"And not as redneck as we like it to be for this parade," Dittmar adds.
So the float is built around Dittmar's forklift.
"Each year's been different, this one is quite an undertaking," Dittmar points out.
"They were kind of gogo dancers and then they did the flamingos the next year, which was hilarious," Harshbarger says.
This year they've once again gone to new heights for what is now known as Wordi Gras.
"You can't get more redneck than this parade," Dittmar says affectionately.
A celebration that now includes people from neighboring towns and proves boredom, leftover beads and a few beers aren't always a bad combination.
The Wordi Gras parade starts at 3 p.m. Saturday. Worden, Illinois is about 45 minutes from downtown St. Louis.
Be sure to check out our Mardi Gras Guide for a list of events going on in the area.