YBOR CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — The iconic Krewe of the Knights of Sant’ Yago crossed their fingers and lucked out — Ybor City’s annual Knight Parade made it from start to finish.
“Oh my god, it’s been so magical,” said Deedee Wilcox, a parade attendee. “Even with the weather, it’s so nice and cool and just like Florida. It’s just been great.”
Save for some rain at the beginning and end of the parade, bead-throwers and catchers stayed mostly dry.
“It’s so awesome to be able to see these Krewes and know that on their floats the charities, the contributions that they give to,” Wilcox said. “It’s not just about giving beads, it’s about giving back to the community.”
Like the Krewe of F-Troop.
“Ybor City does a fantastic job for us. The Krewes are all here, we meet a lot of friends,” said Krewe member Steve Muldoon. “We give beads to the kids and it makes for a great evening to be here together.”
All the krewes showed off their brightly lit floats down Seventh Avenue.
“Everybody who’s in a Krewe gets to be a rockstar for one night,” said Krewe of F-troop founder Ron Arkay. “And that’s it. They’re screaming and yelling at you. You get the uniform off and the beads and hey, it’s over.”
Krewes love the interaction with the crowd.
“You see them little kids,” said Mark Baker. “Their faces light up and it’s pretty neat to do that.”
First-timers Corey Sutton and Lashonda Mincy were thrilled.
“This is fantastic,” Sutton said. “All the lights, all the beads. The joy of catching them. It’s just fantastic. Got a lot of good people out here walking up and down the road. Everybody should come out and at least see this one time.”
They stuck it out despite the rain.
“They gave us bags,” Mincy explained. “I put [it] on my head when it started raining.”
They plan to do it all again.
“Everything is very exciting,” Mincy said. “I would come again. I can’t wait until next year.”
After the parade ended, party-goers slowly filled the sidewalks, ready to enjoy the rest of the night. City workers began to clean up the mess of beads — not as much as Gasparilla but still plenty — and trash on the streets and remove fencing, ready to reopen Seventh Avenue as soon as possible.