Riders revel in Bacchus' golden anniversary
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Krewe of Bacchus rolled Sunday celebrating its Golden Anniversary. The Super Krewe boasts 1,600 members. Whether they're first-time riders or longtime members, those involved say there's one thing, in particular, that makes it all worth while.
"I'm here for my 50th anniversary as a charter member," said Bacchus Charter Member Leon Rittenberg.
Rittenberg says he was never much of a Mardi Gras person. That is, until a close friend and Bacchus organizer asked him to join the new Krewe in 1968.
"It's just wonderful because Bacchus has been so much fun," Rittenberg said.
Rittenberg's sons have been filling in for him the past decade. Now, 50 years since joining the Super Krewe, this is one ride he couldn't miss.
"I've got my two sons and grandson with me and that's why I'm riding tonight," he said.
"I wouldn't ride unless it was family," said longtime rider Pat Rooney.
Rooney can relate. His son, brother, cousins and two best friends keep him coming back.
"I'm riding because my dad rode. Now, I'm riding and my son's riding and this is the greatest time in the world, I swear," said Rittenberg. "It's fantastic."
As generations of riders gather for an annual tradition, others are getting their first taste of Bacchus.
"We are feeling it over here. The float is so packed full of stuff," said first-time rider Rick Gerhardt, who is overwhelmed with excitement. "It's just unbelievable. We haven't even hit the floats yet. Already, the crowds are packed."
It's a feeling that's hard to shake, even after years on the route.
"It's just a great time and a great atmosphere. People everywhere having a great time. It's just what New Orleans is," said rider Ryan Kimberly.
Longtime members of the say it's always better when shared with family.
"That's what Mardi Gras is all about, right? Family," said Rooney.
"Just watching everybody have a good time, particularly my sons and grandson," Rittenberg said.
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