Oh, say did you see... Star-spangled parade traverses Island
|"More beads, please" is the crowd's plea.
|The Anna Maria Island Privateers lead the Independence Day parade on Anna Maria Island.
Star-spangled banners waved in the Anna Maria Island Privateers’ July 4 parade.
The motorcade took place the morning after fireworks burst in the air during an Independence Day Eve display in Bradenton Beach.
The parade traveled nearly the length of the Island, from Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach to Bayfront Park in Anna Maria.
Participants tossed beads and candy from slow-going red, white and blue floats and vehicles. Onlookers waved and hollered to friends and family passing by.
The Anna Maria Island Privateers led the parade in the group’s ship on wheels, the Skullywag, followed by the winners of the Privateers’ scholarships this year.
The fashion of the day was red, white and blue - in solids, stars and stripes. The accessories included beads, miniature American flags and floppy Uncle Sam hats.
Paradegoers cheered for a variety of parade entrants representing the Island emergency departments, businesses, city halls, community groups, condominium associations, mobile home parks and neighborhoods.
“Throw me some candy,” Jacob Nice, 7, shouted as the boat float carrying Holmes Beach city hall representatives passed through the intersection of Manatee Avenue and Gulf Drive.
Instead, Jacob received some beads. “Cool,” he said, adding the beads to the substantial collection around his neck.
Paradegoers raced up to a Winn-Dixie truck for free bottles of water, eager for a drink with the overhead sun pushing the late-morning temperatures higher. And they shouted to pirates, hula dancers, ballplayers, real estate agents, retailers, restaurant owners, police officers, firefighters and hundreds of others in the parade.
“Man, this is going to be one hot day,” said Nancy Armour of Orlando. She was spending the last day of a week on the Island.
“It’s been a heck of a Fourth,” she said.
Privateers said 98 units were involved in the parade with 589 people in the motorcade. “Thousands” was the best estimate of watchers.
After the parade, the Privateers gathered at Cafe on the Beach at Manatee Public Beach for a luncheon and to present scholarship awards to students.
The organization raised more than $27,000 for scholarships this year, which went to Austin Eason, Kimberly Kuizon, Elise Mundy, Claire Ingram, Ashley Bishop, Chris Chawi, Nicholas Gotts, Angela Jackson, Dion Shorey, Eric Whitley, Ashley Stinton, Elizabeth Aguilar, Josie Cockerham, Charlie Green, Lupita Perales, Ashley Petersen, Kelsey Taylor, April White and Sean Price.
Privateers said the scholarship total was the most the organization has ever raised in a year.
“When it all comes together, it’s really something,” said Privateer and parade organizer Tim “Hammer” Thompson.