Parades are a big thing on Anna Maria Island. It seems that every holiday there is a coordinating parade that takes place. People will line up off the road and wait for the floats to come by. It’s truly always a fun time, no matter what occasion the parade is for.
However, there is an extremely impressive (and massive) parade that takes place in Bradenton every year since 1939. The DeSoto Grand Parade is a huge event, and in recent years, it has brought in a crowd of over 200,000 spectators. To give a little background, In the early 1500’s, Conquistador, Hernando DeSoto, and his army of soldiers walked the grounds of Bradenton, making local and national history.
The parade travels 2.4 miles in a 3 hour time span with over 150 illuminated floats/entries. The parade starts at Manatee High School, and then travels to Manatee Avenue where it continues until it reaches Downtown Bradenton.
The event takes place on a Saturday, typically in the month of April. You’ll know the parade is going to start soon once you see lawn chairs out on the side of Manatee Avenue. This brings me to another important aspect of the DeSoto Parade, GET THERE EARLY! Walking to the parade is the best to avoid traffic. So if you have a friend or family member that lives close to the parade route, I’d ask to park at their place. Remember, Manatee Avenue will be closed starting around 5PM from 44th Street West, to U.S. 41.
So bring the kids, wear comfortable clothing, and collect some beads and other goodies at the annual DeSoto Grand Parade in Bradenton!
Anna Maria Island – A small town Anna Maria Island parade is just what is needed to bring together the locals and vacationers. When you forget your cares for a few hours, and become friends with anyone who sits next to you. You strike up a conversation about the pristine Anna Maria Island beaches, or even about the vacation rental they are staying in for their beach holiday while you wait for the first sounds of fanfare to hit your ears.
There is a simple thrill you get when you see the colorful floats, hear the music, to grab as many beads/candy as possible and also seeing the joy of children’s faces when someone in the parade looks their way before tossing something just for them! Even seeing someone on one of the floats you recognize will make you stand up and cheer. If you are a local or frequent visitor to Anna Maria Island you will see many businesses you know or have used in these parades. Maybe even one year you yourself will be on one of the floats handing out joy!
It seems Anna Maria Island has a parade for just about everything. Here is a list of some of the bigger parades you will see for different times throughout the year:
Christmas Parade – usually the 2nd week of December
Lighted Boat Christmas Parade – also usually the 2nd week of December
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – usually the Sunday right before or after March 17th
July 4th Parade – always on July 4th no matter what day of the week that is
The parade route usually runs north from Coquina Beach on south Anna Maria Island, to the Anna Maria City Pier at the end of Pine Avenue using Marina Drive. Depending on how many floats participate will make the difference of where the parade starts. Island Real Estate always makes sure we have a presence, and everyone on the float is someone who works in the office and/or their families. We love the chance to get out in the community, and bring our beach guests a little extra happiness during their Anna Maria vacation.
Next time you plan your beach vacation on Anna Maria Island with Island Real Estate make sure to ask your Reservationist if there may be a parade during your stay! If there is make sure to set that day aside to come join in the festivities on Anna Maria Island. Look forward to seeing you soon with your lawn chair next to mine, and I may even share the goodies I collect.
Bradenton – One of the largest parades in the South that attracts over 200,000 people every year, is Bradenton’s famous Desoto Parade. To give a little background, In the early 1500’s, Conquistador, Hernando De Soto, and his army of soldiers walked the grounds of Bradenton, making local and national history. In the first few months of every year over 150 beautifully lighted and decorated floats are driven through the streets of the city. If you’re staying with us during this time, it is a highly suggested event to take part in with the entire family. Definitely come out to enjoy some tailgating, music, candy, beads, and various merchant carts on this exciting evening.
However, IMPORTANT to note, if you do plan on coming I highly suggest getting there at least an hour early to set up some chairs and get situated (This event gets EXTREMELY crowded and busy, so make sure to keep an eye on your children). This is a very fun parade, which is patrolled the entire time with an abundance of police officers and deputies to keep everyone safe, so don’t hesitate on bringing you’re entire family/friends to this entertaining time.
The Beach Bistro St Paddy’s Day Parade is right around the corner and we can’t wait! Enjoy this event in its 16th year!
Beach Bistro St Paddy’s Day Parade
Taking place on Sunday March 16th 2014 starting at 2:00pm, the parade will assemble at Holmes Beach City Hall at 5801 Marina Drive and will proceed at a leisurely Irish strolling pace northward along Marina Drive to its juncture with Palm Drive and then north on Palm to the parade’s conclusion at the corner of 78th and Palm.
This route should permit traffic to circumvent the parade area. Cars will proceed relatively unimpeded north and south along Gulf Dr. The parade will celebrate with the usual panoply of dignitaries, cyclists, floats, dancers, high school bands and pipe bands garnished with greenery and smiling faces.
Canons blasting and swords drawn, the Anna Maria Island Privateers led the annual 4th of July parade, tossing beads and candy from their ship as they sailed the entire length of Anna Maria Island. Organizations from all over Anna Maria Island were represented in the parade. Local merchants, music, and even Island Real Estate showed their patriotism by waving the red white and blue, and greeting the bystanders with toys and treats. Anna Maria Island Independence day is a must visit.
Anna Maria Island is the best place to celebrate the Independence Day, 3 nights of stunning firework displays lighting up the night sky, a parade, and the world’s best beaches you can’t go wrong. Just after dark on July 2nd at the Mar Vista Restaurant, July 3rd at the BeachHouse Restaurant & July 4 that the SandBar Restaurant the Chiles group hosted stunning fireworks displays for the celebration.
The annual Desoto Heritage Festival Parade had a crowd of an estimated 150,000 people downtown Bradenton and along Manatee Avenue last Saturday. Manatee Avenue and other locations were completely shut down by 5:30 p.m. allowing no traffic at all, as the crowd started to pour into the streets.
Anna Maria Island holds some great holiday parades and St. Patrick’s day is no exception to the rule. The parade
typically starts in the late afternoon and of course it is in the month of March. The starting point for the past few years has been the outdoor plaza in Holmes Beach, Fl. The very same plaza that houses the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce as well as the Wells Fargo bank on the corner of Gulf Drive and Marina Drive. The St. Patrick’s day parade travels up Marina Drive past Island Real Estate all the way up to 85th street where it takes a jog to the East where the parade ends.
Each consecutive year the Holmes Beach based Irish parade has become larger and larger. The Beach Bistro initiated the St. Patrick’s parade just a few years ago and has quickly become a very high participation parade. Island Real Estate continues to participate in the parade and if you have never had the opportunity to drive down a street with wall to wall pedestrians waving, smiling and wishing you a happy holiday you need to give it a whirl. It’s simply fantastic.
In 2008 the Beach Bistro sponsored an Irish elephant, 2009 it was a Camel and 2010 it was an elephant AND a camel. You will have to come visit Anna Maria Island in 2011 to see what is next. Candy, treats, beads and lots of other items are thrown by the parade goers.
So where is the best place to stand? Island Real Estate at 6101 Marina Drive is a great spot. Another great spot is at the Gloria Del Lutheran Church on the corner of Marina Drive and Palm Drive. There is plenty of parking at the church which makes it a great place to stay if you are not staying a walk away from the parade route. Lastly, these spots are towards the beginning of the parade route so everyone should still have plenty of treats to be throwing to the crowd.
Every Year the privateers organize a Christmas auto parade that starts at the Anna Maria City pier and ends at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach City.
Anna Maria Island Christmas Parade
Anyone can join in the fun, and normally candy or beads are thrown to the spectators. Children also love this parade with Santa in attendance. Of course this is also another festivity that gets islanders in the mood for Christmas. In addition to the walking parade, there are several boat parades that take place around the island. Its always great fun!
Island Real Estate in the Christmas auto Parade. Picture taken in front of our office in Holmes Beach.
Is this an entry in the parade or the Boat parade or both??