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Rubonia Mardi Gras Parade ready to roll through Bradenton area community

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rubonia mardi gras

A 10-year-old Charles Miller Jr. sold candy apples, cookies and other sweets in his neighborhood north of Palmetto to be named the first king of the Rubonia Mardi Gras Parade. More than three decades later, he’s getting ready to take over coordinating the annual event that ranks as one of the biggest, most famous bashes in Manatee County.

“As someone born and raised in Rubonia,” Miller said, “it’s part of my heritage.”

The 34th annual Rubonia/Terra Ceia Mardi Gras Parade takes place Sunday with the revelry starting at the hardcore happy hour of 8 a.m. More than 50 floats brimming with bead-hurling participants will begin to roll south down Bayshore Road at 2 p.m. The super-sized street party ends at 8 p.m.

The carnival typically attracts as many as 20,000 attendees. Budweiser is one of the main sponsors so there should be no shortage of adult beverages. Plenty of food vendors are also expected.

“There’s going to be beer, barbecue and seafood from Louisiana,” Miller said. “One of the vendors selling barbecue, Chuck’s Place, that’s my dad.”

That would be Chuck Miller, a lifelong Rubonia resident and longtime coordinator of the parade who is retiring after this year.

“It’s time for my son to take over,” he said. "I'm getting kind of tired."

Attendees can expect more of the same style of costumed celebrating Sunday with the only change being a $2 donation for admission. The cash will go to cover parade expenses with any left over money going to the community center.

“People come and have a good time,” the senior Miller said. “There will be plenty of food, lots of good food like ribs.”

8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday, around the Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St. E., Palmetto; $2; (941) 722-2315; ruboniamardigrasinc.org.
Last modified: February 27, 2013
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