2012 Ybor City, Tampa Sant’Yago Knight Parade With Los Blancos Cigars
Well that was an adventure! This was my first time IN the parades, so I didn’t know what to expect. In fact I went in with full intentions of actually covering it because well, that’s what I do…however the Krewe had other plans! I almost had to SNEAK in some pics and video as they were VERY clear that this was a FUN event, not work…yeah well work is fun for me and you guys, so here we go 😉
It started out with getting there a full two hours before the start, which turns out was a bit late! The crowds had already gathered, parking decks were already full but I happened on a great private lot spot really close to where I needed to be. I ventured down 7th which was blocked off for a couple miles and found the Krewe Of Seville, formed from the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, gathered around the quite luxurious “Rosalia’s Revenge”, with multi levels, FULL stocks of libations, what seemed like a metric ton of beads at the ready and great jammin tunes to keep everyone partying!
We mingled, enjoyed some grog, some pre-parade food to help soak up the night’s drinks to come and of course some awesome cigars, brought aboard by Los Blancos. Not just any cigars mind you, they opened up the reserves and gave out hundreds of some really special sticks including out of production blends, prototypes and original releases some aged over 15 years with equally yellow cellos showing that fine aging! I gave up counting how many we smoked but we were never without until the wee hours, when we were done with the night anyway! I should note that Los Blancos was the ONLY cigar sponsor of the WHOLE festival. Shame on the rest including the guys we literally went right past and the big dogs in the area! Kudos to the Los Blancos Krewe!
As the sun set, the breeze picked up and the energy of the 100,000+ strong crowd started charging us up, we set off, near the front of the pack with thousands of beads flying from both decks plus a full compliment of walking krewe handing and tossing. Between reloading my arms with packs of beads, ducking for the trees and streetlights that only cleared the deck by inches, time absolutely flew by as everyone had a great time as we hit the crowd both on the street and up in the buildings with beads of all colors!
Now, here’s where it went a *little* funny…see, I was up on the VIP deck with the VP of Los Blancos, Dave Blanco. At the end of the parade route our DJ announced that we’re done, we can hang up any beads we still have, etc. I was about 10 feet away form him and the jokester I am, thought it would be hilarious to toss some on him 🙂 Yeah well, let’s just say that He didn’t agree 🙂 He thought it came from Dave and started going OFF on him! I thought it was a joke at first but this guy was serious!! So yeah, we had to walk the plank and walk a couple blocks back to our rally point for the private after-party…which was probably good anyway since it meant a shorter walk! But even after I explicitly apologized, made sure the dude knew it was me, not Dave, I was an ahole, very sorry, didn’t mean to make him upset, etc. – he refused my apology and STILL went off on poor Dave. So Dave my man, I’m very sorry anything came down on you, I just want to make that clear!!
The after party was held on the back patio of Elmers in Ybor just for a couple of the krewes, while the inside was hopping with the public and a great live cover band doing everything from the Stones to Chili Peppers. The beer was cold, more than one private flask was floated around and it was just as much fun as being back on the boat! I had to leave about 11, since I have a shoot today (I’m writing this the next morning) and let’s just say I still need some time to recover 😉