TAMPA — Eight debutantes embarked on An Enchanted Evening when the Krewe of the Knights of Sant'Yago, led by El Rey XXXVI Ignacio Armas and La Reina XXXVI Courtney Lee Parish, welcomed them with open arms at the Marriott Waterside on Aug. 2.
Shimmering in long white gowns and carrying bouquets of white roses, each debutante was escorted to her parents on the dance floor. There, mothers received a single stem and returned to their seats. Fathers continued the promenade as the emcees read the girls' biographies. Childhood pictures of the debutantes, now between 18 and 21 years old, flashed on the screen. Giggling junior attendants and flower girls drew applause, too.
The private men's club's 36th annual debutante presentation followed tradition and concluded with the graceful father-daughter waltz, choreographed by Olga Benitez of Elsa Pardo studio.
"The whole experience of daddies and daughters is classic. You feel like a princess,'' said debutante Paige Fernandez, 21, a graduate of Florida State.
Most of us grew up watching sisters and cousins debut, said Fernandez, who attended a cousin when she was 5 or 6. "We've been involved with the krewe since we were young."
Royalty led fathers and daughters in a grand march before dinner was served.
Knight Joseph Gonzalez was ball chairman, assisted by El Baron XXXVI John Madiedo, Mary and El Rey XIX Manuel Alvarez.
Meet the Sant'Yago debs
Nicole Michelle Allegretto
Daughter of Nicolas and Eloise Allegretto, escorted by Armando Hernandez and attended by Juliana Mia Garcia.
Ashley Renee Bryant
Daughter of Squire Marc and Shelly Baumann, escorted by Eric Valiente and attended by Gracie Baumann.
Malori Nicole Daubar
Daughter of Robert Alan and Stephanie Daubar, escorted by Deven Michael Rosario and attended by Gabriela Pozo.
Holly Elizabeth Esquia
Daughter of Alex and Ida Esquia, escorted by her fiance, Squire Joseph Madiedo, and attended by Skyler Rose Dallas.
Paige Channing Fernandez
Daughter of Gustavo and Theresa Fernandez, escorted by her uncle Squire Henry Gonzalez III and attended by Natalie Tuero.
Monica Albrecht Kasson
Daughter of Steven and Lisa Kasson, escorted by David Albrecht and attended by Ashley Yates.
Christiana Antoinette Vento
Daughter of Knight John and Jaculine Vento, escorted by Andrew Levy and attended by Katherine Hickey.
Jessica Ester Weiss
Daughter of Squire Henry Weiss, escorted by her brother Jonathan Weiss and attended by her sister Rachel Weiss.