TAMPA, Fla. — More than 30 years ago, the first all-female Gasparilla Krewe was established with only five members. Now, they're taking on 2020 with 70 women on board and their sights set on helping those in our community.
“We broke the barrier, I’d like to say, and it was great,” said Rocky Valdez.
In 1986, Valdez and her co-founder Dianne Henry created the Krewe of Alegria. During that time, it was mostly men participating in Gasparilla.
“We got a lot of notoriety. We started getting more and more women that were interested,” said Valdez.
The Krewe started with only five girls and not everyone welcomed them with open arms.
“We got kind of shunned a few times from different affairs that we went to,” said Valdez.
Now more than 30 years later, the Krewe has about 70 women on board.
“Alegria 2.0, just kind of taking it to the next level,” said president Misty Hendry.
The Krewe of Alegria is known for their charity work. They operate as a not-for-profit and in 2004 founded Alegria’s Kickin’ for Kids. Since then, they have delivered more than $102,000 in new shoes to children.
The Krewe has plans to give back even more this year.
“We want to be the Krewe for Tampa Bay. We want to be out there in all aspects of the community,” said Hendry.
It’s been three decades of making history and setting an example.
“The women that we have are professional women and great great women. Great people,” said Valdez.
But the group says it wasn’t always easy.
“It was a new endeavor, somebody had to do it and we did it,” said Valdez.
The Krewe of Alegria plans to keep growing their influence for decades to come. You can read more about them and their charity here.