Become a Vulcan
Joining a Krewe
There is much about the Vulcan Krewe that's not well known. One item of interest is that every year there is a completely new krewe selected, made up of 7 new Vulcans and a Fire King who is chosen from past Vulcans to lead the krewe. Every year around August we begin our recruitment and selection process which typically wraps up around October. You can be part of this process but first you need to apply.
The Application Process
Each potential krewe member must submit a written application to join the krewe. We are a fraternal order and you will go through a vetting process with leaders and respected members of our organization along with many of the processes required by the Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation who operates the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
The following requirements and expectations will need to be met and agreed upon:
- The application process is secret. You do not discuss it with anyone except your employer and your spouse.
- To begin, you must be supported by a member in good standing. This can often seem like a difficult prospect if you are new to the Saint Paul community but it is not insurmountable. Every year we host a recruitment evening where you can come and ask questions of the group and discuss anything that is on your mind. It is also a good chance for some of our members to meet you and get to know you. At this meeting many do often get the support you need on submitting an application.
- You must undergo a criminal background check to join the krewe. Serious criminal violations are cause for dismissing an application and if we would have any concerns you should be open about them. We are looking for men of character to be characters. You get to experience some fantastic opportunities but require trust and integrity amongst our own.
- You must be in reasonable physical condition. A vulcan's diet is certainly not conducive to exceptional fitness but we do walk many miles in parades and the roll is physically demanding. If you have any medical conditions that might preclude you supporting our active year on the streets, discuss them with us and we can guide you to the best course.
- You must be in a position to spend a large part of the next year in the Saint Paul area during both the week and weekends.
- There will be times when you may need to take vacation from work to attend events so it is important that you not only get the support of your employer but also recognize the commitment we desire. While you are not required to be at all of the runs, you will be required to be present at and sequestered for the 10 days of carnival. More on this later!
- You will be expected to commit yourself financially to the success about the krewe. Please understand people of average incomes have been very successful on the krewe but we will also explain the financial commitments below.
- Lastly you are absolutely required to discuss this with your spouse. You need to discuss the time and financial commitments and consider your family and job situation carefully.
Selected recruits will join their krewe for what will no doubt be a memorable year. It all starts with the 10 days of carnival, where the krewe is sequestered together the entire time. Each krewe member has an assigned running mate you will stick with the entire time. Most krewe members finish the 10 days of carnival feeling like a month has passed because so many things happen. It's a true eye-opener upon your return to the real world.
Normally the krewe will only have two or three appearances between carnival and the very busy parade season but this will depend on the krewe and in particular, the Vulc. The fire king and his running mate or prime minister of the krewe, will work out the details of the krewe calendar. There will mostly be appearances in and around Saint Paul. Many weekends will be consumed from the early hours to the late evening attending events, parades, community functions, volunteer events, special visits and social endeavors. This will be constant until the end of October when the krewe will do its final run of the year before settling into what we call "mother hen duties". More on this later.
Through the year there will be opportunities for your spouse, significant other and family to participate in events, but consider there will also be significant amounts of time away from your family. As previously mentioned, this is why the support of your family and friends is important to your success. The year is demanding and nothing can weigh down a krewe more than challenges created in a person's home life, so make sure you talk about the commitment. The experience is fantastic and many a former krewe member and lady will regale you with epic stories from their years.
There will also be opportunities for travel to our sister festivals around the nation and Canada. These trips are optional but few people ever opt to miss them. Believe us when we tell you that they are memorable and worth the expense.
One subject often heard discussed but seldom understood by outsiders is the cost of being a Vulcan. While some rather inflated numbers are thrown around at times, we can tell you quite honestly that those numbers are often either wrong or inflated. However there is a significant cost that each member takes on to experience being on a krewe. Let us explain.
Each krewe member must pay their own expenses. While there are often donations and grants given to each krewe to help them through their year, each member will still take on a financial commitment. However if you consider that most people spend a large amount every year on food, gas, clothing, travel, children, rents and mortgages then the following expenses won't be too surprising.
- Each krewe member will be required to purchase his necessary attire. This includes the running suit for parades and events and formal attire for formal events. Our uniform includes options from casual to formal and our formal jacket is a red blazer with custom insignia. Each krewe member must purchase their blazer, and will be required to own or purchase other items like
- cold weather clothes (socks, long underwear, sweatshirts, boots, gloves, ear warmers, etc.)
- warm weather casual clothes (krewe selection on krewe attire)
- black tuxedo pants and shoes along with krewe selection on tuxedo shirts and vests/cummerbunds
It is also customary that the krewe, as a group, purchase the fire king's ring which they will present to their fire king. Most krewe members find that these expenses are a one time cost of around $1,500. This will cover you through your carnival year and your formal attire will be necessary and used in future years that you remain involved with the organization. You may see more or less expense if you already own these items are choose to equip yourself more completely.
- Each krewe member will have the opportunity to acquire krewe attire and memorability including shirts, hats, jackets or other items as the krewe chooses. If you have family members you may also choose to buy some of these things for them. These costs are normally optional and based on your preference. Some krewe members have finished their year spending only a couple hundred dollars on personal items while others have been - indulgent.
- Each krewe member will need to contribute to expenses for meals and beverages along with the costs of outside festival registrations and rooming expenses. It is difficult to estimate travel expenses, hotel costs, meals and the rest of these expenses. It also depends on how much you want to commit and the cost of family members joining you. Some single individuals have seen these expenses be in the range of $2k to $3k dollars after airfare, hotels and meals while some married krewe members can see twice that cost or more. It should be noted that it is common to see other expenses covered by gifts and friendliness from other communities but those who give should also receive.
- During carnival there are exceedingly frequent chances to celebrate, socialize, try new things and experience a widely diverse opportunity. Everyone will have experiences during the year and will likely spend money on movies, dinners, bar tabs and other items.
Being a Vulcan does not inherently increase the amount you will spend in your running year but certainly leaves the door open for you to choose to do so.
The Five-Year Commitment
Your year as a Vulcan is without a doubt the most demanding and likely most memorable year you'll spend with the Saint Paul Vulcans, but it's certainly not the end of the road. By joining our group you and your krewe will take part in a specific activity each year generally associated with carnival in some manner. The 4 years that follow your running year involve the following activities:
- Year 2 - "mother henning" which is the coordination and logistic work of getting the new krewe through their 10 days of carnival
- Year 3 - designing, producing and selling a charm/pin as a fundraiser
- Year 4 - planning and executing a chosen event-based fundraiser
- Year 5 - planning and executing the Vulcan Victory Dance a the end of your 5th year carnival