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Knights to shine at parade

The Krewe of the Knights of Sant'Yago sponsors a nighttime procession with beads, pirates and traffic to boot.

By MICHAEL CANNING

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 19, 2000


TAMPA -- Whatever you do, don't call today's big shindig in Ybor City and the Channel District the Gasparilla night parade. There's no such thing, as any member of the Krewe of the Knights of Sant'Yago would eagerly point out.

All together now: it's the 2000 Sant'Yago Knight Parade and Family Festival.

The Ybor City social krewe that has sponsored the event since 1972 has long suffered this widespread assumption, but for good reasons. It takes place in the middle of Gasparilla season and it sure looks like the Gasparilla parade, with plenty of pirates scattered throughout. Also, the event includes the thunder of blank-firing revolvers and cannons, the rabid clamoring for beads and trinkets tossed from the procession, crowds that number in the hundreds of thousands, and the attendant traffic gridlock.

The parade has evolved into two distinct parts -- one oriented toward families with children and near the Florida Aquarium, the other in Ybor City that has a more adult flavor (complete with Mardi Gras-style breast-baring bead solicitations).

At 3 p.m., the Family Festival street carnival will begin, unfolding in the Terminal 6 parking lot of the Tampa Port Authority, at York Street and Channelside Drive. Two stages will present live music. A midway will offer amusement rides, games, street performers and cultural activities.

In the Family Fiesta area, for $5 children can be "knighted" by the Krewe of Sant'Yago, receive certificates of knighthood and special medallions, make their own bead necklaces, and have their faces painted.

The illuminated parade begins at 7 p.m. at Cumberland and Channelside drives. Its 2.8-mile route will head north on Channelside, go along Nick Nuccio Parkway, then east on Seventh Avenue. It will terminate at 23rd Street.

At the end of the parade, about 21/2 hours later, the Centro Ybor Fireworks Fiesta will fill the sky over Ybor City.

Reserved parade seating along Channelside Drive is available for $14 (or $17, with a reduced Florida Aquarium admission included). There is no reserved seating in Ybor City.

At a glance

WHAT: 2000 Sant'Yago Knight Parade and Family Festival

WHEN: Begins 3 p.m. today; parade at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Winds along Channelside Drive and Seventh Avenue

COST: Free

Entertainment

Radio Disney/AM 1380 Stage:

3 p.m. Ballet Madrid

3:30 p.m. station music and talent

4 p.m. TNT Dance Group

5 p.m. No Authority

Mix 100.7/MEGA Communications Stage

3 p.m. Mega talent

4:30 p.m. Ballet Madrid

5:20 p.m. Wedgee

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