Our necks are green from the combination of cheap beads and sweat, but I haven’t had so much fun at a parade since probably age eight. We spent the day on Anna Maria Island and were lucky enough to happen upon their St. Patrick’s Day parade on our way home. The onlookers were as fun to watch as the floats.
My feet were tapping to the bagpipes and marching bands as John was lifting his shirt up to get more beads. A la Mardi Gras, his method worked. It was raining beads to the point that the old lady next to us got clocked in the face with a strand.
Both an elephant and Saint Patrick himself marched, and when St. Patrick passed, the group next to us started shouting, “Pray for us, Saint Patrick!”
Although the traditional parade fare of bands and floats were well represented, there was some uniquely Floridian flair mixed throughout. This alligator was tied to the top of a golf cart…there were lots of golf carts.
This last float had me curious. Turns out the jail was built in 1927 to hold rowdy bar patrons over night until they had time to sober up and settle down. The walls are still standing in the backyard of the Anna Maria Historical Society. But the more interesting fact my curiosity led to is that Anna Maria Island was basically built from the Fig Newton. Although Charles Emerson Bean was the first person to build a home and settle on the island, it wasn’t developed until almost 20 years later when his son partnered with Charles Roser in 1911. Roser invented the Fig Newton and sold his business to the company now known as Nabisco. He then started the Anna Maria Beach Company with George Wilhelm Bean and this quaint beach community was born.