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Krewe of Sir Francis Drake builds first ADA-compliant special needs parade float in U.S. history

Posted at 5:06 AM, Jan 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-20 08:27:18-05

Pageant queen Christine Garner is used to feeling like royalty.

After all, she’s Ms. Wheelchair Florida 2019.

But Garner, who has cerebral palsy, says riding on Gasparilla’s new history-making float for people with special needs is even better than wearing a tiara.

“It means a lot when people like this accept you for who you are,” says Garner.

Gasparilla’s Krewe of Sir Francis Drake has built the first ADA-compliant special needs float in U.S. history.

“When you’re on a parade route, and you see the kids in wheelchairs stuck in the back, I don’t like that,” says krewe captain Roland Wood. “So I’m making them a superstar.”

Adds krewe president Renee Adams: “Every time we bring a child or an adult in a wheelchair on the float, I get emotional.”

The Sir Francis Drake float has a wheelchair lift, wide passageways and an ADA-compliant bathroom.