First parade float in nation to accommodate special needs and disabilities

The Galleon helps everyone enjoy Gasparilla

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The nations first parade float built to accommodate people with disabilities and special needs made an appearance outside Hillsborough County Center.  

The float, the Krewe of Sir Francis Drake Galleon, is helping keep Gasparilla open for everyone. It's designed to resemble a pirate's treasure chest.

It has a wheelchair lift, wide aisles and a bathroom wide enough to accommodate anyone with mobility challenges. 

"You feel like a rock star when you do the Gasparilla (parade)," Roland Wood, the captain of the float, said. "I wanted them to be a part of it." 

The float was on hand on July 16 to commemorate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Hillsborough County Alliance for Citizens with Disabilities staged the event. 

The event features exhibits and service animals. As well as an address by Karen Clay, who's the mother of a severely disabled and highly accomplished son. 

They also presented awards, including one to Roland Wood and Renee Adams — the captain and queen of the float. 

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