Battle of the bowels

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Spectators wait in line to use portable toilets located under U.S. Highway 281 by Pearl Brewery before the 126th Battle of the Flowers Parade “Blazing Trails” April 28. Photo by J. Del Valle

Port-a-potties and Super Scoopers are crucial to parade success.

By Austin P. Taylor

An estimated 350,000 people attended the Battle of Flowers Parade April 28 on Broadway, according to

Most of them eventually succumbed to their biological functions after consuming the copious amounts of food and drink available.  

Port-a-potties are a necessary evil during these times of mass celebration. Traditional restrooms aren’t equipped to deal with the crowds attracted by the festivities. 

Many of the gas stations positioned along the parade’s route were packed to the gills with individuals waiting to clear their bladders. 

One woman said she waited about 30 minutes before she made it into the restroom. 

To combat this issue, some local businesses provided external lavatories. 

Timbo’s, a burger joint next to Pearl Street Church, is one such establishment. For at least seven years, Timbo’s has provided the public with portable toilets for a fee of $2.

“The city only provides 125 port-a-potties for the parade, and it ain’t enough,” said Timbo Lang, owner of Timbo’s. 

The restaurant placed two hand-washing stations next to a row of 15 port-a-potties. A member of the Timbo’s staff cleaned the potties at least once an hour.

Timbo’s employee Matt Parmer has been cleaning these festive latrines from the start.

“We go through a lot of toilet paper,” Parmer said. “The bathroom situation is the worst part of the entire parade.”

Of course, local businesses aren’t the only ones that had to battle feces.

The parade is filled with horse-drawn carriages and riders on horseback. As humans are slaves to their biological functions, so too are horses. 

To stave off this malodorous encroachment, the parade makes use of Super Scoopers. These groups are composed of high school students from various campuses across this city, including Alamo Heights, John Jay and the Ayusa foreign exchange program.   

“We want to be a part of the community,” said Victoria Burst, a German exchange student under the Ayusa program. 

Groups of Super Scoopers walk behind horses with shovels, brooms and a bin. As the groups advance along the parade route, the scoopers pick up what’s left behind. 

Their demeanor changed drastically once the parade started. Where once was a group of happy high school students, only solemn workers remained.

Farah Rajab, a student from Saudi Arabia, had underestimated the pungency of the experience.

“I didn’t think it’d smell that bad,” Rajab said.


Leave A Reply