Saturday, November 19, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Florida Parade 1955

Welcome to another "Anything Goes" Saturday! Today I am featuring 3 images from the "Festival of States" parade in St. Petersburg, Florida (circa 1955). Some of you might live in chilly climates, and these bright, sunshiny photos will warm you up.

The parade debuted in 1896, and was originally called the George Washington Birthday Parade. In 1921 the name was changed to the Festival of States; St. Petersburg wanted to capitalize on its purported average of 360 days of sunshine each year, and lure frozen tourists from up north.

I love this first float, sponsored by Borden's, in the shape of a red and blue toy train. There's Elmer (you know, "Elmer's glue"?) sitting on the tender of the locomotive. Various costumed cuties lounge on giant Borden's products, including ice cream and milk. "Elsie the Cow" was (and still is) Borden's famous mascot, and I can only assume that she was back in the caboose, possibly accompanied by her calves Beulah and Beauregard!

Old Jack Frost can blow as hard as he wants, but he can't overcome the awesome warming power of natural gas! Pretty girls in bathing suits are the perfect touch for any parade float, if you ask me.

Is that an anthropomorphic orange driving that speedboat, or is it Mr. Sun himself? Either way, I like his style - I definitely need to start wearing a skipper's cap wherever I go. And I'll demand that people salute me (and call me "Cap'n")! The back part of the float features a bridge, with the words, "Spans Across The Bay"; I can't find a bridge in the St. Pete/Tampa area that looks like that one... if anyone has any info, chime in!

The "Festival of States" parade has fallen on hard times in recent years, with declining attendance. It was cancelled completely in 2010 due to the high cost and bad economy. But I believe it was back this year! Hopefully this slice of Americana can find a way to continue for a long, long time.


TokyoMagic! said...

What a great looking parade! These kind of remind me of some vintage Disneyland parade floats. And all three include well-built, handpicked honeys.....

Katella Gate said...

Compared to filthy and demanding coal and oil, heating a home with natural gas was indeed a 50's miracle.

And *nothing* goes with retro babes in mono-kinis like giant paper-mache conch shells. (I'll bet they're radioactive too!)

Anonymous said...

The bridge appears to be the original Sunshine Skyway that was built in 1954, but irrevocably damaged in 1980 when the freighter Summit Venture struck it. It has since been replaced with the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The damaged bridge was taken down in the 1990s.


Nanook said...

Boy - if we knew then what we know now - maybe it wouldn't have seemed all that swell. But it did feel wonderful at the time and it certainly looks that way from these lucious images.

Gotta go - I need a nice tall glass of Bordon's Whole Milk.

Nancy said...

beautiful train! i love a parade and yes, thanks very much for that sunshine. it has been raining way too much this past week. tho it could have been snow, so will take it!