Gasparilla Children's Parade

Even though we've been here for almost four years, there are many local events that we haven't done yet. Gasparilla is one of those 'must do' events that the locals had told me about, but for whatever reason, it had been skipped over. This year, Chef Jr AND Gameboy wanted to skip camping with the scouts to go to the Children's parade.

Gasparilla is Tampa's Mardi Gras like event held on the last Saturday of January. The weekend before, the kids get their turn to get beads without having to deal with the public drunkenness. There are krewes and corporate sponsors with floats, scouts, the military and all sorts of groups, all throwing beads into the crowds.

Yes, beads. It is ALL about the beads. The kids really got into it and this first float got them more than a little excited, because it was a cub scout pack. Did the scouts give up some beads for fellow scouts? Uh, no.
Later, Red Baron Pizza came along with some beads with little biplanes on them. I scored a set of those beads. Here's the thing: Gameboy was upset early on because he hadn't caught any beads. The people we were standing near handed him some beads and he was happy-and gave them a very polite and excited Thanks! (yay for manners). By the time Red Baron came through, the kids had several strands each, but another boy next to them only had one strand. I had Chef give the boy the Red Baron beads. He later gave them back to us when some of his family members gave him another set of the red beads.

Below is one of the Krewe floats. They go all out for these. I can't tell you much about the Krewes other than they do a lot of fund raisers for charity. It's rather neat. In addition to Gasparilla, there are parades in Ybor and elsewhere throughout the year, so those floats get more than one use for all the work they put into them.

The net result? Chef looks like he's drunk on beads!
Gameboy is happy, he's got some beads, too.

Alas, the weather didn't cooperate. The parade was cancelled halfway through for tornado warnings. No sooner did we get back to where the car was parked that it started pouring. The fireworks were cancelled, though they're putting them on tonight.

We know for next year. Pack a cooler and picnic basket, bring a blanket and camp chairs and make a day of it. Maybe I should even hit up Oriental Trading before we go and have some backup beads. It couldn't hurt.

All I know is that we will stay FAR away from the adult event next week. From what I'm told, it rivals Mardi Gras in rowdiness. I'm past thinking that rowdy is fun!


bobbyd said…
Great pics of the kids, We'll have to get to this next year when we're Finally in the promised land.
shannymar said…
I love the drunk on beads picture! Ha!
Bonnie said…
"drunk on beads" LOL ... perfect description
Mike Golch said…
beads..give me beads or give me beads!!!!! Sorry about the ripoff Patrick Henry.LOL
great pics of the kids.
so what if this sounds a little corny.thats right I said it.Mike

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