In 1993 a parade was founded in the community of Town & Country in Tampa, Florida. A parade conceived of by Vietnam Veterans Mark Fogarty, USMC and E. Rock Roque, USAF.
The challenges were many, convincing the Sheriff’s Office, parade route road closures, parade participants, school bands, advertising, etc. There was an additional challenge, neither co-founder had experience.
However, it was easily determined that Hanley Road would provide the best parade route with Webb Middle School as the review area. Fortunately early on, there were a few sponsors, Bill Curry Ford, who very generously furnished vehicles for the Grand Marshal and dignitaries.
The First Parade was disappointing, but the co-founders were not deterred and planned for the second with an additional feature… a community festival with games and food provided by local restaurants. The community festival was set up on the grounds of Webb Middle School in close proximity to the review stand. However, the events at the community festival were scheduled to begin only after the conclusion of the parade.
Jack Weinel was born on September 25, 1925 in McKeesport, PA. He joined the Army in November 1943 and served in the Artillery with the 1st Cavalry during WWII. After training at Fort Ord, California and Camp Phillips, Kansas, sailed through the Panama Canal with stops in Guantanamo, Cuba; Balboa; Solomon Islands; Guadalcanal; New Guinea; Admiralty Islands; and the Philippine Islands. His first encounter with Japanese air raids came in January, 1945. Jack and crew manned 155 Howitzers in the battle of Fort Stotsenburg near Clark Field for which his Battalion received a Commendation from the Commander of XIV Corps. Jack was involved in several battles in the Manila area. During 172 days of combat operations his Battalion fired 26,095 rounds of 155 mm Howitzer ammunition. Jack left Manila in January 1946 was discharged and returned home to Pennsylvania in February 1946.
Jack moved to Tampa in 1956 and worked as an offset printer at URS from 1971 to until he retired in 1994 but continued working there part time for several years.
Jack has been active in the American Legion for the past 4 decades and has been in every Tampa Bay Veterans Day Parade except the 2018 parade.
Freedom is not Free that is why we honor the Men and Women who have sacrificed for our Freedom!
We believe the Tampa Bay Veterans Parade to Honor Our Service Men and Women is a big deal. Since its inception in 1993, the Tampa Bay Veterans Parade has grown into one of the largest Parades Honoring Veterans in Florida. The Parade’s all-volunteer staff coordinate over 60 marching and rolling units annually as we Salute Our Service Men and Women. Tampa Bay citizens support our Service Men & Women with a great turnout annually and crowds have been estimated at over 20,000 parade goers.
We believe the Tampa Bay Veterans Parade allows the citizens of Tampa Bay an excellent way to express their gratitude to our Service Men and Women. The Tampa Bay Veterans Parade is possible only through the generous support of the Friends of the Parade. We are hopeful Your Organization will become a Friend of the Parade. The all-volunteer Tampa Bay Veterans Parade committee needs your help. As stated earlier Freedom is not Free, Neither Is the Parade. The Tampa Bay Veterans Parade Needs You. We are asking for financial assistance or an in-kind donation from you.
This is your opportunity to become a Friend of the Parade. Being a Friend of the Parade does have privileges. The list of benefits for Alpha Company, Bravo Company, Charlie Company or Delta Company are provided with each sponsorship package.
Current Friends of the Parade from the public and private sectors include The Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners Hagen, Murman, Higginbotham, and Beckner. The MacDill AFB 6th Air Mobility Wing /CCS. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department. Corporate Friends include Caspers Corporation McDonalds, Chase Bank, Green Thumb Nursery, JP Morgan Vets, Michelle’s Kids, Minuteman Press of Town N Country, Publix, Tampa Bay Domains, Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union, Tampa Bay Storm, TECO Energy, The New York Yankees Foundation, The Tampa Tribune, USAA, many more. Show your Support for Our Veterans by becoming a Friend of the Parade.
Thank you in advance for your Support.
No! This practice is not allowed as it can be dangerous. People run into the street to collect thrown items & can be injured by vehicles. People can walk with your vehicles & hand things to spectators. PLEASE stop briefly to allow people on or off safely. No one should board or dismount a moving vehicle.
From Hanley Road turn East on Custer Ave. Turn right (south) on Armand Dr pull up to the Right Hand turn at the gate to the Baseball Ave Staging Area to drop of marchers.
THERE IS NO PARKING ON THIS STREET. The only stopping allowed will be for Parade vehicles to check in. Otherwise please keep moving as traffic gets very heavy on Armand Dr.
The Staging Area is open at 7:00am Saturday Morning and getting the over 2500 participants in the right place takes time.
Staging is not a quick process. Hanley will be blocked to traffic at 9:00 AM SHARP. You won’t be able to get in. This is a great time to meet new friends, set up your group, and say hi to the friends you met last year.
Parade-Route-landmarksThe Parade turns south onto Hanley road at Barry Ave. We continue south on Hanley Road to Paula Ave and turn west until we pass the Library.
This year we are having everyone pull down to the corner next to the entrance to BaseBall Ave. off people. The Participants then proceed to Baseball Ave Staging Area. If you then wish to escort them to the staging area please park in a designated space and return asap as parking spaces are limited
VDP-Staging-Area-Map-v2014If you are a Float and Large Vehicle proceed to the Soccer Drive Staging area and check in with Parade Marshal.
Busses are to use the Morgan Woods North Parking Lot to drop off Band and School participants. The Participants then proceed to Baseball Ave Staging Area. Bands, JROTC, and School Groups will stage on Baseball Avenue south of Morgan Woods School.
If you are a Band, Scout Troop, JROTC, or have a mixture of small vehicles with walking participants organization leaders need to check in with Joe Vetrano at the information desk before entering the staging area on Baseball Ave. There are Volunteers in the Baseball Ave Staging are who will guide you to your area. Please follow their instructions during staging and the duration of the parade.
If you are arriving separately make sure everyone knows the staging position assigned and meet there.
The staging area is not for general traffic. The only vehicles allowed into the staging area are actually part of the Parade. This is for safety.
All Vehicles and participants will be directed to turn Right on Ambassador Dr. in front of Cacciatore’s and keep moving. Be certain to set a meeting place for your group past the Library or perhaps toward U Save.
The group with whom your child is walking should arrange a meeting place ahead of time. Be certain to have telephone numbers for adults involved.
Yes there are public restrooms at the walkers’ staging area. Park in Morgan Woods’s lot. The Carnival is also providing restrooms near the Grandstand close to the end of the Parade route.