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De Soto Festival Culminates With Grand Ball and Parade This Weekend


BRADENTON -- The De Soto Parade returns to Bradenton on Saturday night. The Grand Parade is the culmination of the month-long De Soto Festival, put on each year by the Hernando De Soto Society, which also includes Friday Night's Grand Ball at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. This year's parade has over 150 illuminated entries. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at Manatee High School.

An elegant, black-tie evening filled with glifter, pomp and circumstance, Friday night's Grand Ball is the crown jewel of the De Soto Heritage Festival. It will also be where the 2014-2015 Queen is crowned and the newest Hernando de Soto is invested.

Also honored at the ball are the Princess and Hernando De Soto’s new Crewe of Conquistadors. Dancing, fun and entertainment lasting until midnight will follow the ceremonies. This sparkling affair has been one of Manatee County’s most prestigious social events for decades.

The ball will take place from 8 p.m. until Midnight at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto. Tickets are $50.

Saturday's parade will feature over 150 illuminated entries. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at Manatee High School, proceeds up 39th Street to West Manatee Avenue, the main parade route, and heads east all the way to downtown Bradenton.

Road closures along the parade route will begin at 5:30 p.m. At the police department’s discretion, the streets will reopen after the pa­rade and a couple street sweepers pass by.

City staff will distribute small bags for personal garbage to people along the parade route. The City of Bradenton asks that you please put your trash in these bags and leave them along the curb for pickup.


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