Countdown to The De Soto Hertiage Festival



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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


The De Soto Grand Parade is getting a major overhaul in 2024, as the event has outgrown its traditional route thanks to an increasing number of entries, more spectators, and bigger floats. 

The parade will now start in downtown Bradenton, where crowds will be able to watch floats stage before they stream down Manatee Avenue. Our goal is to bring a family-friendly downtown, “street party” hours before the parade steps off.  The festivities will include a 5K race, live music, street vendors and children’s activities, leading up to the parade’s 8PM start. 


The parade will now stage on Manatee Avenue between 1st Street and 9th Street West.  This nine block section of Manatee Avenue will close at 1:00PM on parade day with westbound Manatee Avenue traffic re-routed around the parade staging area via 9th Avenue W.  East bound traffic will not be affected.  As in past years, the remainder of Manatee Avenue from 9th Street W to 43rd Street W will close at 5:00pm to enable crowd protection barricades to be placed along the 1.75 mile route. 

This year, northbound lanes of the Green Bridge going to Palmetto will remain open during the parade. The southbound lanes will close at 7PM, roughly one hour before parade start. Third Avenue West and Ninth Avenue West will remain open throughout the parade. This new route will greatly improve traffic flow into and out of the downtown area during and after the parade. Several roadways that were closed in previous years, will now remain open, allowing traffic to freely move into and out of downtown, even during the parade. 


Unfortunately, we can’t control the weather. We work very closely with the city and emergency management personnel to ensure we are receiving the most recent weather updates. The safety of our participants and spectators is our top priority. More than half of the festive floats that are participating in the parade are from the Tampa Bay area, with no over-night accommodations, thus, due to the size, logistics, local and state permitting requirements, it is almost impossible to reschedule.