Special to The Laredo Sun
LAREDO, Texas – Hundreds of Laredoans, out-of-town visitors and tourists once again lined up along San Bernardo Ave. and Victoria St. on Saturday, February 21st to witness the annual Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade at 9 a.m.
Through their creative efforts, participants emphasized the importance of tradition and patriotism by highlighting patriotic celebrations throughout the country with this year’s parade theme Star Spangled Celebrations. Over 185 float entries and parade units found inspiration in the customs and traditions of the many faces of America from various parts of the globe. Parade entries were creative and colorful and showed off all those things that make America beautiful.
“With much enthusiasm and energy, our participants marched, played, cheered, danced, and smiled their way down San Bernardo Avenue,” said WBCA President Veronica Castillon. “Everywhere you looked, spectators were delighted by the talent and beauty on display in our parade, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather than the one we were blessed with this weekend.”
The winners are: Best Dance Squad, Martin High School Tigerettes; Best Cheerleading Unit, Martin High School Cheerleaders; Best Band High School, Martin High School Band; Best Military/Law Enforcement Unit – High School, United High School AF JROTC; Best Military Unit/Law Enforcement (Community), Laredo Police Dept.; Best School Float (High School), St. Augustine High School Cheerleaders and Student Council; WBCA Special Merit Award, Best ‘Lil Schoolhouse; Grand Marshal’s Award, International Bank of Commerce Employee Advisory Board; President’s Award, Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales; Sweepstakes Award, United High School Larriettes; International Award, Escuela Secundaria #9 Miguel Hidalgo.
The crowd voted 95.7 for the Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade People’s Choice Award. This was created as a bonus category where spectators and television viewers voted for their favorite entry via the WBCA text Club.
“Thank you, Laredo, for turning out in record numbers to our annual patriotic extravaganza,” Castillon said.
The 2015 WBCA Ambassadors who rode on the floats were: the Abrazo Children, as well as George and Martha Washington, young debutantes of the Society of Martha Washington and their escorts. As is the tradition, the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales began the festivities, right after Mayor Pete Saenz handed the key to the City to Princess Pocahontas in front of the WBCA Grand Stand.
The Anheuser-Busch proudly sponsors the Washington’s Birthday Parade.
“Anheuser-Busch along with L&F distributors is proud to be able to continue to be the title sponsor of WBCA’s flagship event, The Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade,” said Steve LaMantia, owner of L&F Distributors.
Leonard Martin, President and Manager of 20th Century Rides, served as the 2015 Parade Marshal for the Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade.
Martin’s carnival heritage spans three generations, going back to his paternal grandfather. This year marks the 50th anniversary Martin has provided the midway for the Washington’s Birthday Celebration in Laredo.
The long association with this great Celebration exemplifies the honest, hardworking businessman. Blessed and thankful are two words that come to mind when Martin reflects on his life, and he never hesitates to give back to the communities he visits when the opportunity arises. Whether it is financially, offering free passes or by taking the time to meet with people, philanthropy is part of who he is. People frequently refer to his kindness and consideration as a keen sense of fair play.
“I’m honored, humbled and very proud to have been chosen Parade Marshall and also to have been a part of Washington’s Birthday Celebration for the past 50 years,” said Martin.
Throughout the years, the Celebration has grown to be over a month long and consists of parades, dazzling pageants, fireworks, a carnival, an air show, a sizzling jalapeño festival and much more. Combined, WBCA events attract nearly 500,000 residents and visitors, and contribute an estimated $14 million every year to the local economy.
The Washington’s Birthday Celebration was recently ranked as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association (ABA) because of the excellent entertainment value it offers to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world.
For additional information, visit wbcalaredo.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, contact the WBCA office at (956) 722-0589, visit 1819 E. Hillside Road in Laredo, TX, or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.