Make us your home page

Children's Gasparilla Parade to charge some groups to participate

Observers at the Children’s Gasparilla Parade await floats. Taking part in the parade will come with a fee, and a rule on bead safety has been relaxed.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times (2006)

Observers at the Children’s Gasparilla Parade await floats. Taking part in the parade will come with a fee, and a rule on bead safety has been relaxed.

TAMPA — No one rides for free in the Children's Gasparilla Parade anymore.

Yet another victim of the recession and rising costs, the 62-year-old family-friendly parade that draws 200,000 people to Bayshore Boulevard is charging businesses and groups to participate in the parade for the first time.

Spectating remains free at the Jan. 23 event, but businesses have to pony up $500 to participate in the parade, while licensed nonprofits and private performing groups are being charged $250.

Fees for school marching bands and performance teams are being waived.

About 115 groups typically take part in the parade, which winds from Bay to Bay Boulevard to Watrous and Orleans avenues on Bayshore.

"Free events aren't free," explained Darrell Stefany, president of parade organizer Event Fest. "We have to find some way to offset some of the expenses."

Those costs include the addition of portable toilets and the labor to clean them during the parade, a combination that will more than double their availability. The federal minimum wage also rose this year to $7.25 an hour, which affects parade workers' pay.

Stefany said the parade either had to create fees or scale back one of the city's showcase events, a route the 24-year-old Guavaween parade took this year when it banned the use of motorized floats.

Some krewes anticipated the change and said they would still be part of the parade.

"Everyone else charges for their parades, so I didn't think anything of it," said Dianne Calderazzo, office manager for the Krewe of Venus. "They have got to run an event and that's it."

Laura Bruce, head of the Krewe of St. Brigit, which has participated in the parade for two years, said her krewe will split the cost among about 100 members and friends who ride on the krewe's float.

"Because of the size of the event, frankly, I'm surprised they haven't started charging fees earlier," she said.

Besides the new fee, the children's parade had required parade participants to buy "throw" beads that comply with a new federal Consumer Product Safety ruling that bans lead and industrial chemicals called phthalates in children's products.

Phthalates, found in many products to make plastics flexible, have raised health concerns, particularly among young children.

Concerned that kids might stick the beads in their mouths, parade organizers wanted all participants to buy Grade "A" plastic beads, which are not made from recycled materials and don't contain phthalates.

In applications to participate in the parade, organizers had required statements from bead companies that their beads didn't contain phthalates. But organizers suspended that requirement last month.

The federal product commission is supposed to issue a ruling soon that could clarify how the safety act views beads. Once the ruling is released, Stefany said, Event Fest will better know how to enforce the federal act.

Regardless, local bead sellers say they are handing out legal statements from beadmakers that say their beads don't contain phthalates.

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or

Children's Gasparilla Parade to charge some groups to participate 10/08/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Appointments at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and World of Beer highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Tampa Bay Watch, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary, has announced two new employees. Pamela Arbisi is the new development director. Her responsibilities include …

    Scott Bendert has joined the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay as the non-profit organization's Chief Financial Officer. [Company handout]
  2. Tampa's Homeowners Choice seeks to offer flood insurance in other states


    Tampa-based insurance company HCI Group Inc.'s subsidiaries are trying to expand their flood insurance offerings beyond Florida. HCI has filed with regulators to offer flood coverage in Arkansas, California, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

    Tampa-based HCI Group is trying to expand its flood insurance offerings to other states. Pictured is Paresh Patel, CEO of HCI Group. | [Courtesy of HCI Group]
  3. Home of Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hits market at $3.45 million

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is back on the market for $3.45 million after a brief hiatus.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is on the market for $3.45 million. [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  4. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy


    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where condominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]