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Weekend Adventures in Bradenton: De Soto Weekend!


BRADENTON – It's finally here, the biggest weekend of the year! Things kick off Friday night with the crowning of the new Queen and the naming of the new Hern' at the annual De Soto Ball. On Saturday, over 150 illuminated floats will line the streets for the Grand Parade. Fill your cooler and tie down your lawn chairs, it's time for our favorite Weekend Adventure in Bradenton!

The big weekend starts with the De Soto Ball on Friday at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium. An elegant, black-tie evening filled with glitter, pomp and circumstance, this sell-out event is the crown jewel of the De Soto Heritage Festival where the 2012-13 Queen is crowned and the newest Hernando de Soto is named.

Also honored 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.

When: 8 p.m. Midnight Friday, April 26, 2013
Where: 1005 Barcarrota Blvd., Bradenton
Cost: $50
Contact: (941) 747-1998 or info@desotohq.com

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Last year's De Soto Queen's Court

The next night, the Grand Parade steps off at 6:30 p.m. Ranked as one of the largest and most prestigious parades in the South, the dazzling and exciting De Soto Heritage Festival Grand Parade is truly a sight to behold for all ages. If you're new to town, now you know why there have been so many lawn chairs chained to spots along Manatee Ave. this week.

On Saturday, over 150 illuminated parade entries light up the night with color, music and fanfare like you’ve never witnessed before! Starting at Manatee High School, the parade route goes west on Ninth Avenue, north along 39th Street West to Manatee Avenue and then turns east toward Downtown Bradenton to 9th Street West.

Road closings along the parade route will begin at 5:30 p.m. to allow for the 5K run, which begins along the parade route at 6:10 p.m. Detour signs will be in place prior to the race. A street cleaner will follow the parade route so that the City’s roads are cleaned of debris; the police department will make the call when to open roads after the parade and cleaner have passed.


City officials will distribute small grocery bags to pedestrians around 6:15 p.m. along the pa­rade route. This is for your per­sonal trash. Please leave the filled bags at the curbside after the parade for the City to collect. You also may bring your own grocery bag for this purpose. To see the parade route and planned road closures, click here.

When: 6:30 p.m. 10 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013
Where: Downtown Bradenton
Cost: Free
Contact: (941) 747-1998 or info@desotohq.com


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