Universal Studios Florida has unveiled a tribute to iconic New Orleans float builder Blaine Kern Sr., whose company has designed and created parades for the theme park for decades.
A second-story window of the Pantages Theatre at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando now honors Kern, who died in June at age 93. It features the logo of his company, Kern Studios, and the words “Blaine Kern – Mr. Mardi Gras.”
Many of the second-story windows at Universal Studios theme parks pay tribute to behind-the-scenes contributors.
The window bearing Kern’s name overlooks the parade route at Universal Studios, where parades designed by Kern Studios have rolled for more than 25 years at Mardi Gras and Halloween.
It overlooks the starting point for the parades, which Universal officials said will ensure that he is there in spirit to oversee the action for years to come.
Kern’s wife Holly said she plans to travel to the theme park next February to participate in Universal’s Mardi Gras parade. The parades generally run on select days from February through April, though next year's dates have not been announced.
“Blaine would have been over the moon excited about this,” Holly Kern wrote in a Facebook post.
In a letter to Barry Kern, Blaine Kern’s son and president and chief executive officer of Kern Studios, Universal Studios called Kern a key contributor to the theme park’s success.
“Blaine brought the celebration of Mardi Gras and the spirit of New Orleans to Universal Studios Florida over 25 years ago, using his unique creative vision and talent to bring Carnival to millions of delighted Universal guests,” wrote Jim Timon, Universal’s senior vice president of entertainment.
“‘Mr. Mardi Gras’ will continue to be part of the celebration he created and to ensure that the good times continue to roll, for many, many years to come,” he wrote.