RUBONIA -- Didnt make it to New Orleans this week for Fat Tuesday?
Its Mardi Gras time in Manatee on Sunday.
One of the countys most famous parades will roll through Rubonia again during the 33rd annual festival.
It has been a tradition in the small community north of Palmetto ever since friends of resident LuAnna Topp first marched down Bayshore Road in 1979 to celebrate her birthday.
Just as they did back then, most people participating in the The Rubonia/Terra Ceia Mardi Gras Parade, which kicks off at 2 p.m., dress in crazy costumes, ride outrageous floats, hurl beads and generally have a rowdy, good time.
More than 20,000 attendees are expected to line the main street through this community.
I like all the parades but this one has one of the most enthusiastic crowds, said Roger Murphree, past president and board member for parade participant the Anna Maria Island Privateers. Its a big party just like Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
What started as a small group with a few homemade floats has grown to a daylong festival with entertainment, food and souvenir vendors, as well as close to 50 parade entries.
Bradenton-based, popular covers duo the Muphin Men are scheduled to perform from noon to 2 p.m. Another unnamed act will play reggae music from 5 to 7 p.m.
Terri Mrs. Wiggles Costello has been named grand marshal. She has been working with us all 33 years, said Chuck Miller, a lifelong Rubonia resident and coordinator of the parade. The theme this is year is Community United for a Purpose.
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Visit heraldbuzzworthy.blogspot.com.
Details: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.,Feb. 26, around the Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St. E., Palmetto. Information: 941-722-2315 or www.ruboniamardigrasinc.org.