St. Petersburg Times Online: News of southern Pinellas County
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Planned kids' parade is a wash

The Festival of States event is canceled because its main planner had surgery.


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 7, 2001

ST. PETERSBURG -- Festival of States organizers have canceled a new event, the Kids' Fun Parade, because of the illness of a pivotal volunteer.

Gene Downs, 68, a member of the Suncoasters civic group that sponsors the festival, is known as Mr. Parade. For five years, he has handled all the paperwork and created the lineups for the day and night parades. He also was in charge of the new Fun Parade. He recently underwent heart surgery in Jacksonville.

"He's doing much better," said Festival of States spokeswoman Sandy Lee. "But the volunteers who are taking over his work felt they could not handle a new event along with the other parades. Gene was the one who knew everything about the Fun Parade."

The Kids' Fun Parade was created to give local youth groups such as Scout troops an opportunity to participate in the Festival of States. In the past, only a few representatives of such groups could march in the larger parades.

The Fun Parade was to have preceded the April 7 day parade, called the TradeWinds Resort Festival Parade, which is made up primarily of floats and marching bands. Neither the Festival Parade nor the SouthTrust Illuminated Night Parade on April 2 will be affected, Lee said.

She announced another development. For the first time, all concessions during festival events must be purchased with coupons rather than cash. She said the change was made to better track sales. Festivalgoers can buy coupons on site; there are no plans for advance coupon sales.

The Festival of States is an 80-year-old tradition in St. Petersburg that has evolved into multiple events centered on the venerable day parade. This year, the festival runs from March 30 through April 8. It includes the Sam Robinson Tampa Bay Blues Festival, antique auto show, art show, musical performances, fireworks, PierFest and Extreme Sports Fest. For information, call 898-3654.

Back to St. Petersburg area news
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Special Links
Mary Jo Melone
Howard Troxler

From the Times
South Pinellas desks
  • First place is where Baker's work begins
  • Lakewood PTSA takes a look at longer, fewer classes
  • Question the candidates
  • Walls go up for new YMCA; fees will too
  • 'Shadow' candidates for council emerge
  • Pinellas Park may latch onto trolley idea
  • Runaway for Yakes, a runoff for Ward 2
  • No limit to Held's capacity for re-election
  • Trolley rider sees only white, wrong
  • IRS examines tax preparer with police clients
  • Hotel adds a soothing amenity
  • Rat problem closes pizza restaurant
  • Helping kids be the best
  • Florida International Museum to hold sale
  • Global extravaganza planned for weekend
  • Planned kids' parade is a wash
  • Joseph Ficocelli, Sun City Pops organizer
  • Death came, but he never waited for it
  • Local Junior Leaguers take a walk on the wildish side
  • Blame rainfall shortage on development, he says
  • 3 campaign for 2 seats on Kenneth City council
  • Madeira Beach has meeting tonight about flood damage
  • Athletes are preparing for cooler temperatures
  • Keller overcomes biggest challenge of her life
  • District 4 seat draws newcomers to politics
  • St. Petersburg driver Dempsey shines in Late Model calamity