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Invading Hernando DeSoto Historical Society and Crewe 'capture' Bradenton

BRADENTON -- After 77 years, Hernando DeSoto Historical Society and Crewe finally captured the key to the city of Bradenton on Saturday.

They boarded their ship in Palmetto and made their way to the mouth of the Manatee River before heading back to Bradenton and landing at Pier 22 restaurant.

A cannon was shot as the crewe announced on a megaphone it was there to take over the city.

DeSoto Queen Ellie Sharp and Princess Bailey Mosley and members of the Sisterhood of the Crown greeted the crewe before it made its way to Bradenton City Hall.

Children "attacked" the crewe throwing foam cannon balls as members approached Mayor Wayne Poston.

"Mayor of the city of Bradenton, we are the Crewe of Desoto. We have come to start the DeSoto Heritage Week and take the city of Bradenton from you, and we want to thank you for all the hospitality while we have the city of Bradenton under our control," said Bob Richardson, playing the role of Hernando DeSoto. "As

we take it under control, we have our grande parade next Saturday night at this time we look forward to you leading that parade."

Poston smiled as he took the microphone. Children continued to run around, laughing as they threw more foam cannon balls at the crewe.

"This is the 77th year. You have captured the city of Bradenton," Poston said. "You are the first one that has been successful, and now I congratulate that, and so for that you win the key to the city and welcome."

Poston then handed Richardson the key to the city.

"Some day, some time, hopefully by the end of this festival week, we will give the key back to the mayor and allow him control again," Richardson said.

Richardson had the idea for the inaugural event and Hernando DeSoto Historical Society President Terry Wilson said he loved it, and so they went with it.

"We thought it would a great way to bring it to Bradenton," Wilson said.

The fact City Hall is on Barcarrota Boulevard and Bradenton's sister city is Barcarrota, Spain, made the landing choice a perfect fit.

"It's all about community, bringing kids out to have a good day," Wilson said. "People love parades, love this kind of thing."

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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