TAMPA, Fla. — Krewe of Alegria was the first all-female Gasparilla crew, and more than 30 years later, they are still going strong.
But like so many others, they are disappointed they won’t be able to cruise down Bayshore for this year’s pirate parade.
“I saw it coming, especially after Super Bowl," said krewe president Misty Hendry.
While the parade and the parties get most of the attention, krewe members say the charity work they do the rest of the year is what means the most.
“We are constantly out there every day, every week impacting from Teddy Bears for Children to Toys for Tots," said Hendry.
But Krewe of Alegria’s main charitable focus is called Kickin’ For Kids.
“I do not have children of my own. So being able to give back to other people’s children is a key part of my life," said member Angela Shore.
The women collect shoes each year to give to hundreds of children in need.
“Watching those kids get a brand new pair of shoes it’s golden," said Shore.
The krewe says canceling the parade, could hurt membership, but the charities shouldn’t be affected.
“Gasparilla was a good visual marketing tool. People saw us. They like our costumes. They came out. So we are missing that. But we’ve had six new members in the last three months with no parade and COVID," said Hendry.
“Like all 5013c’s and all nonprofits this year it’s been a little rougher but it’s not going to die by any means," said Shore.
The krewes have had to creative during the pandemic, like holding fundraisers virtually.
Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla says they will actually try and raise more money than ever.
And while Krewe of Alegria says they look forward to the next big party, their sisterhood continues, and so does the charity work.
“We just keep doing what we do. We’ve been around since 1986 and we aren’t going anywhere," said Hendry.