Presented by

APRIL 27, 2024

With over 150 entries, the De Soto Grand Parade is one of the largest and oldest parades in the Southeastern United States. Over 100,000 people line the streets of Bradenton to view the illuminated floats. Spectators can also catch a glimpse of our new Hernando de Soto, Captain of the Crewe and their newly crowned Queen and Princess.  Beads, coins and other fun items are handed to the crowd throughout the night.

The De Soto Grand Parade is undergoing some massive changes, so be on the lookout for more details coming soon!

Automobile Liability Insurance

All parade participants utilizing a motorized vehicle in the parade must provide a certificate of insurance with the following Additional Insured clause:

  • “Hernando Desoto Historical Society, Inc. and its sponsors, members and staff, the City of Bradenton and the Bradenton City Council are included as Additional Insured, and a waiver of subrogation is included in the general liability and automobile liability policies described.  General liability and automobile policies are primary and non-contributory.  These endorsements are applicable to liability arising out of the operation of the entrant in connection with the DeSoto Heritage Festival Grand Parade on 4/29/2023.”

Required Safety Equipment

  • Fire Extinguishers.  All floats and any vehicle or trailer with a generator must carry a fire extinguisher with a current certification.  Vehicles will be inspected by the Manatee County Fire Marshall.   Cars or trucks that do not have generators or are not pulling floats are exempt.  You will NOT be able to purchase fire extinguishers at staging so please make sure your float or trailer has an extinguisher or you will not be permitted to participate in the parade.
  • Security Walkers.  Each entry is required to provide a minimum of 2 security walkers to assist local law enforcement in keeping the public along the parade route safely away from the moving vehicles/floats.
  • Safety Vests.  Security walkers are required to wear a DOT Class 1 Reflective safety vest during the parade.  Safety vests will be available for purchase at staging.

Mandatory Timeline for All Entries

  • 9:30 am: Staging grounds at Manatee High School open
  • 3:00 pm: ALL entry units (floats and vehicles) must be in staging
  • 5:00 pm: All drivers must be at their units
  • 6:30 pm: All participants must be in/on their unit
  • 7:00pm: Parade begins

Your Entry Must Match Your Application

Space is extremely limited in staging.  Each entry has space allocated to it based upon the information (size/length of entry) provided in the application.  Entries that are significantly larger or not conforming to the application submitted may be assessed additional fees, moved to the end of the parade, or prohibited from participating – forfeiting their entry fee.  Walking entries are limited to bands, drill teams, or unique entries approved by the Parade Committee.

The Signage On Your Entry Must Match Your Application

Except for licensed towing companies like Stepps Towing, all signage on your entry or float must match your application.  For example, if you enter as “Great Giving Charities”, then the signage on your entry (except for your tow vehicle as stated above) must state “Great Giving Charities” or information about Great Giving Charities such as “Giving back to American’s In Need”, etc.  You cannot add the name of a sponsor or other entity such as “Sponsored by American Plumbing”.

Age Restrictions

  • All children up to the age of 14 years must be accompanied by an adult and must be riding on a float or inside of a vehicle. 
  • No child under the age of 14 may walk in the parade except for those in a marching band.

Prohibited Activities

  • No candy may be thrown during the parade.
  • All beads must be thrown as far from the entry as possible.
  • Handing beads directly from the side of the float endangers the public by encouraging them to approach the float.  This activity is strictly prohibited.
  • No printed materials may be distributed along the parade route.
  • No firearms, cannons, or fireworks may be used in the parade.
  • No sirens – except for official emergency vehicles.

Staging Area

  • Staging is conducted on the grounds of Manatee High School – a public school
  • Consumption of alcohol on school grounds is prohibited by State Law


  • Entry fees will only be refunded for cancellations up to 1 week before the parade.

Cancelation Policy

We are a non-for-profit organization. We incur significant up-front expenses in putting this event on, and they are not refundable. Therefore the Hernando de Soto Historical Society will not be able to issue refunds, nor deferrals for the cancellation of this event due to weather conditions or public safety – circumstances that are obviously beyond our control.

Can’t make it to the parade?  That’s ok!  You can now watch live on the following streaming options: