April 26, 2007 — With a big smile on her face, Theodora Tedy Moorehead held up one of the horses that she made for this years Carnival, as her troupe, The Gypsy Carnival Troupe, gets ready for their 56th trip up the Western Trail.
Tuesday afternoon, in a building near the hospital, the Gypsies were putting the finishing touches on their costumes and float, which will feature their version of the Long Branch Saloon, as the troupes theme this year is Gypsies Western Mas.
Moorehead has been participating in Carnival all her life. She brought a smile to everyones face when she said she had been making costumes for the past 10 years.
When one of her co-workers said, You were here before I was, and I came in 1986, Moorehead revised her figures. OK, maybe it has been 20 years. I cant really remember, I dont know the history, but I love the work, she said.
I came in 89, chimed in one of them. It was 1981 for me, said another. And a third added, Ive been here since 1974, before you were born.
Everyone laughed at that one.
So it was not with a western six-shooter, but with a glue gun that Moorehead adeptly assembled and decorated one of the bridles for the 55 horses she had made from scratch.
Her work started in early March on St. Croix. She then brought all of the parts to St. Thomas for final assembly. She held up one of the finished horses and pointed out, The heads are covered foam cutouts, and the poles are PVC pipe. I do all the sewing, everything. I really enjoy doing it all myself and I always make extras.
Moorehead was joined by 10 additional members, who were working on various aspects of the troupes presentation, including the float, costumes and accessories.
There will be around 80 in the troupe this year, but Moorehead said that some years there have been as many as 200 participating. There are extended families in the group, and the numbers go up and down depending on who is on island.
By Saturday that number will go up, she explained. We always have people, last minute, who jump in, but we have extra costumes, so we are ready.
She added that in addition to the people in costume, there are others that add to the numbers, like the drivers, band and helpers; so in the end, there are more than 100 involved.
At that point in the interview, Marshall James Boschulte Sr. joined in with some facts about the troupe.
Boschulte said the troupes executive committee started planning this years Carnival in November with general meetings every two weeks beginning in January. They came up with the Wild West theme and then decided on how they were going to work with it.
We ask all the members to participate — even if it is only for an hour or two, he said.
It was with pride that Boschulte told a bit of Gypsy history. This is our 56th parade. The Carnival Committee celebrates years, but we celebrate parades and we were there for the very first. We have charter members who marched in that parade who are still marching.
Boschulte said that this year the troupe would be honoring Gypsies' charter members Alton and Patricia Adams.
Boschulte added that the very first king and queen of the 1952 Carnival were Gypsies Leo and Carmen Sibilly. He boasted that member Gerald Nicholson was the only person who could claim to have marched in every single parade.
Boschulte said the only reason the Gypsies exist is for Carnival on St. Thomas, but they do go to St. John in July as well. In this troupe, we do everything ourselves. We dont bring in anyone from the outside, like designers or anything like that.
The Gypsies will assemble near the Western Cemetery at around 10 a.m. on Saturday and will be leading the third section of the parade. They have been in that position for several years.
We have four parts in the parade, Boschulte explained. We have the float, a music trailer for the 8-piece band, the bar truck with food and drinks, and the fourth part is the troupe. This year it will be the Spectrum Band, and we try to stick with the same band every year.
Moorehead added, Everything has a unified look, and that is unique and sets us apart. But getting everything looking just right is hard, and there is a lot of work to do yet, so lets go.
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