Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brandon's July Fourth parade returns to old route, start time

BRANDON — An effort to beat the heat last year by changing the time and route of Brandon's longtime Fourth of July parade led organizers to discover that, indeed, some like it hot.

Based on feedback to the parade's sponsor, the Community Roundtable of Greater Brandon, most people prefer the old path and morning start time than a revised route that began in the evening, said Marie Cain, the roundtable's parade committee chairwoman. So this year, the parade will revert to its traditional time and place.

Billed as Florida's biggest parade celebrating America's birth, the procession will sally forth at 10 a.m. July 4 from Lumsden Road and Parsons Avenue. It will march north on Parsons, turn west on Robertson Street, cross Kings Avenue and wind down in the Publix parking lot at the west end of Robertson.

"We definitely know people want it back to the old route," Cain said. "We definitely heard that last year."

She said the planning committee chose this year's parade theme to reflect its deference to that preference.

"It's called 'Community Pride' this year," Cain said. "We wanted to let the community know we heard their opinions."

The grand marshal will be MacDill Air Force Base commander Col. Lenny J. Richoux.

Brandon's new honorary mayor, based on money raised for charity, also will be announced and expected to participate in the parade.

Cain said the number of parade units has held steady at about 100 the past three years, including last year's attempt to hold an evening parade closer to the Westfield Brandon mall, where nighttime fireworks were planned. The parade last year started at Brandon Parkway and Lakewood Drive.

The number of spectators appeared to be down, possibly because of rain, Cain said, but there were other complaints. Families, churches and veterans groups that traditionally schedule afternoon cookouts found the new time difficult.

Some people suggested that a daytime event is more "family friendly," with less likelihood of public alcohol consumption along the parade route. Parking last year also was limited, Cain said, and she noted that the roundtable incurred extra costs for security because of the time and location, though she couldn't pin a price tag to the increase.

She said organizers had to hire about 65 police officers last year because the parade was moved to the evening. In the past, off-duty officers have volunteered their time to secure the parade when it didn't interfere with their evening plans, Cain said.

Last year's organizers thought an evening event would dovetail with the annual fireworks display, making a more convenient celebration for most people, Cain said. But she said some Brandon parade-goers come from Lakeland and Tampa, then take in fireworks in their own back yards, which made the evening parade inconvenient for them.

The 2010 route also was intended to move congestion away from Brandon Regional Hospital.

Officials at the hospital were lukewarm to news of the return to the old route.

"While we are supportive of our community celebrating the Fourth of July with its annual parade, returning to the traditional parade route presents a greater challenge for patients, physicians and other providers having access to our hospital during the parade," said Mike Fencel, chief executive of Brandon Regional Hospital.

Barbara Patrick, who runs Patrick's Patriots twirling program in Brandon, Plant City and Lakeland, said she brought about 25 performers to last year's parade. The group endured a heavy downpour and tiny audience but finally left the parade when lightning threatened.

"There was no one there [along the route] for a long, long way," Patrick said, recalling last year's event. "We would like to see it change just because there were no people."

Jay Paules, a co-owner of Campbell's Dairyland at Parsons and Robertson, said he will be glad to see the parade return "to where it ought to be." The procession for more than 20 years turned the corner in front of the family-owned eatery.

Paules said Campbell's typically sees a spike in business before and after the parade, but that's not the main reason he welcomes the parade back.

"It almost doesn't seem like the Fourth of July when it's somewhere else," he said. "It's all about the kids. Most adults … have a kid in each hand."

Few communities celebrate America's independence with an event like Brandon's, Paules said.

"Brandon has still kind of got a country, hometown type of feel to it, and this is one of the last bastions of that."

. If you go

Want to stroll?

The participation fee for parade units is $75 until June 3. Late registration, available until June 10, will cost $150. The parade committee also is recruiting vendors and sponsors.

For information, call (813) 661-4350 or visit

Brandon's July Fourth parade returns to old route, start time 04/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas deputy in trouble for social media boast: 'Nothing like almost shooting someone'

    Public Safety

    LARGO — A Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy is under investigation after a photo that shows him boasting about almost shooting someone made the rounds on social media.

    A Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy is under investigation after a photo that shows him boasting about almost shooting someone made the rounds on social media. Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Spencer Gross on Thursday confirmed deputy Austen Callus' employment and said the agency is "aware of the social media post." [Facebook'
  2. ReliaQuest's benevolent hackers try to make companies more secure


    TAMPA — Their goal is to get in. Past a security desk, through a firewall, into a system they shouldn't have access to. Sometimes they'll look like a regular person in the lobby who innocently forgot their access badge. Most times they won't be seen at all, remotely and quietly prodding a company's systems from a …

    Angelo Castellano of Tampa works at his desk at ReliaQuest | | [CHARLIE KAIJO, Times]
  3. Watch the trailer for 'Mini Lights,' based on St. Petersburg's frightening urban legend


    Perhaps you've heard of the "mini lights." The tales can vary a bit, but generally, they're said to be nasty little creatures controlled by a witch that once lived near Booker Creek. They come out after dark to "get you."

    A scene from the proof of concept trailer for a mini lights movie.
  4. Democratic ad: Adam Putnam is 'silent' on GOP health bill


    Democrats are trying to attach Adam Putnam to the GOP’s unpopular plans to replace Obamacare.

  5. Competition and uncertainty keep New Port Richey's Steve Miklos hooked on power boat racing


    HOLIDAY — If Steve Miklos could have it his way, every power boat race would take place in rough water. He finds the turbulent conditions calming, an attitude he's developed during a professional power boat racing career that spans hundreds of races dating back to 1991.

    Steve Miklos, the throttle man and owner of the No. 51 Sun Print Racing boat, poses at his shop in Holiday. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]