So this year I made it a point to go to the DeSoto Grand Parade in Bradenton, Florida. We found a spot near downtown, so we were near the end of the route. What a spectacle! This was an awesome parade. The weather was breezy and cool, which really made the event more fun.

Held every year for almost 70 years, this parade is in the running to rival the Gasparilla Parade in Tampa. I took lots of photos but thought I’d direct you over to the Desoto Historical Society‘s site and to the Bradenton Herald’s website which has stories and pictures for the event. It’s hard to capture the atmosphere of the event without being there or without video but it’s a loud, exuberant, fun parade and crowd. Loud music, beads, and dancing folks abound on the floats and in the streets. They have cool giveaways like beach balls, beads, hats, and candy. The kids had a blast trying to catch all this fun stuff. There are old cars used in the parades that are pretty fun too.

They also have a children’s version of the parade which I didn’t attend. But I’ve heard that parade is perfect for little ones. The night parade went pretty late, but I thought it was pretty family friendly over all.

The DeSoto Historical Society has lots of fun events, like the Seafood Festival, throughout the year. One of the coolest parts is that they dress up like Conquistadors. In the past I’ve seen them at the annual Easter egg hunt at GT Bray with the Easter bunny. It was pretty cool to have the Easter Bunny arrive on their big boat and then kick off the egg hunt. It’s pretty unique.

If you like parades and a fun time, head on down to the DeSoto Grand Parade next year!