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Meet the Gasparilla krewes: We talked to a professional women's krewe and a veterans krewe

Before we get ready to set sail with the Gasparilla floats, let's meet two pretty unique krewes.

TAMPA, Fla. — ARGH you ready for Gasparilla?

Before we get ready to set sail with the Gasparilla floats, let's meet two pretty unique krewes.

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Bonny-Read Krewe

What started as the Hyde Park’s Women’s Club transformed into an outlet for women to get together and have fun while contributing to society in August 1994.

“We started doing research as to pirates that women that we thought we would want to celebrate the lives of,” said Camille Matthews, the founder and director of the Bonny-Read Krewe. “The research brought us back to Anne Bonny and Mary Read, so we decided on them.”

The krewe adopted two skulls and two cross swords as their logo to represent the spirit of Bonny and Read.

“They were adventurous, maybe a little too adventurous, but women of spirit and wit -- and that’s the way our krewe is,” she added. “It was in the early 1700s, so women on a sailing vessel were unheard of and not really allowed. 

"In fact, they wore pants and things so they could disguise themselves.”

Bonny-Read consists of mostly businesswomen and professional women from all walks of life and careers.

“All women who have been very involved in the community, very involved in charitable organizations, neighborhood organizations, political actions, women who have been very engaged in the community,” said Jean Clements, one of the early members of the krewe.

The krewe isn’t completely made up of women, however. The krewe has a men’s auxiliary, called the "grog masters."

“They carry our grog, make sure that we are well-stocked and supplied, have our beads and materials and supplies ready,” Clements added.

Ye Krewe of Valor

Ye Krewe of Valor doesn’t have a float.

“We have two military LMTVs provided by a National Guard unit and Army,” Bruce Ramos, vice president of Ye Krewe Valor said. “And they provide us with the vehicles and two drivers that we’ll decorate with our beads and our banner and our sponsorship banners as well.”

The idea for the krewe started out as a simple request four years ago for the Post 911 organization to get involved in Gasparilla. The idea came to life about a year later.

“We first started, because we wanted to reward people that are giving back to the community, both veterans and community members that support veterans,” said Tony Ramano, president of the krewe.

While the officers are all Post 911 group members, the rest of the krewe is a mix of veterans and community members involved with veterans. The krewe does various community and service events throughout the year with both veterans and community members.

“Gasparilla is the reward for everybody that gave back that year, we put people in the parade for free, it doesn’t cost them anything, they come out and they support us and support veterans in the community and you’re in the parade for free,” Ramos said.

For more news and information about Gasparilla, click here.  

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