It's Time for the Parrish Heritage Day Parade and Festival

  • Jordan Chancey
  • 03/1/22
PARRISH — It’s that time of year again! Time for the Parrish Heritage Day Parade and Festival. The annual event organized by the Parrish Civic Association is scheduled to kick off Saturday, March 5, with the parade at 10 a.m., followed by the event’s festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.   
 
While the parade and festival are a Parrish Community affair, all residents of Manatee County are invited to visit and take part in the festivities. That’s right, you don’t have to be a Parrish resident to attend the event and experience a historic piece of Parrish heritage and tradition. 
 
The traditional Parrish Heritage parade begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of 121st Avenue and Erie Road with a 1.9-mile route down 121st Avenue to 69th Street East, taking a right onto 69th Street East to Martha Road, and ending at Parrish Community High for the start of the festival at 11 a.m. 
 
Some of the scheduled festival activities include a petting zoo, shark rodeo, bungy jumping, rock wall, antique cars on display, bullwhip contest, and vendors galore selling all sorts of foods, art, plants, soaps, crafts, and more. Food vendors include TK Grill, Big Blue Grilled Cheese, and Kona Ice—to name a few. Live music will be provided by Jack’d Up, a local band known for their party-vibe repertoire of popular 70s, 80s, and 90s cover songs. 

All festival games, activities, and music are free to the public. Food and beverages, as well as craft and art booths, will require purchase. 

Parrish Heritage Day seems to grow right along with Parrish itself, drawing more activities, vendors, and residents each year. This year's festival will feature a "Parrish Pioneer Corner" which will host vendors and activities that focus on the heritage of Parrish including the crafts, supplies, and activities that were often found in the "olden days." 

A Parrish Civic Association booth will feature author Iris McClain (while you are there, pick up one of her books and get an autograph) as well as PCA Vice President, Norma Kennedy—both longtime residents who will share stories and photos showing how Parrish has changed and grown over the decades. 
 
The history of Parrish Heritage Day is about as "old-school" as you could possibly get! In fact, it began roughly 80 years ago as something more like a potluck, with residents gathering together annually on the grounds of the 1920s schoolhouse. Vivian Buice—whose family was directly involved in the addition of a parade to the event—says the day was much like a community family reunion. 
 
The Buice family started the Parrish Parade in 1986 and carried on the tradition for 10 years. Parrish families continued to gather bringing their best potluck dish to share with their community, but the day grew to include a parade, live music, and many more participants and spectators. 
 
Back in its early years, a flatbed trailer was placed by the old fire station and local musicians would play throughout the day. The Mizell and Buice families were the featured musicians back then. 
 
Since then, others have come behind the Buices and carried on the Parade and Heritage Day Festival so generations could continue to share in the historic community tradition. The parade is now headed by Cindy Chin, Secretary of the Parrish Civic Association and longtime resident of Parrish, Florida. Jennifer Hamey, Parrish Civic Association Treasurer, helps organize the parade and festival events. 
 
Today, the parade route is lined with people from Parrish and other Manatee County communities. FFA and 4H clubs, Boy Scouts, Manatee County Conquistadors and Queens, even county commissioners attend. Grand Marshalls are selected each year honoring Parrish residences or commissioners. Horseback riders, local businesses, the fire department, local farmers, and even Parrish area schools join in. The Parrish Community High School band, cheerleaders, and sports teams are regular participants in the parades of today. 
 
"The Parrish Heritage Day Parade and Festival is something I look forward to putting together each year with our committee," said PCA Treasurer Jennifer Hamey, "It brings together the young and the old, the lifelong Parrish residents and the newbies who just moved here. It is a day filled with fun and entertainment and gives people the opportunity to get to know their neighbors and learn about the history of Parrish." 
 
Parking will be available at Parrish Community High School, entering via Erie Road. Some surrounding roads will be closed to traffic the morning of the event. Fort Hamer Extension will be closed from the Fort Hamer/Erie Road intersection, south to 69th Street East beginning between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Additionally, 121st Avenue and 69th Street East will be closed during the parade, from roughly 9:30 a.m. through 11 a.m. 
 
Parrish Heritage Day Parade and Festival is an admission-free family event, with no cost for parking. Parrish Community High School is located at 7505 Fort Hamer, Parrish, Florida.  

For more information visit www.parrishcivicassociation.org or the Facebook event page here

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