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Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) is a day of celebration leading up to Lent. Cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations are: New Orleans; Rio de Janeiro; Venice, Italy; and Rubonia, Florida.


Rubonia is a community of about 12,000 hard-working folks located about 26 miles south of Tampa, Florida. Their Mardi Gras celebration began in 1979.

Fun Loving friends of fun loving Luann Topp, a Rubonia resident, assembled a parade to honor her birthday 28 years ago. The fact that her birthday happened to fall on Mardi Gras Day that year was no accident.

They assembled a few floats (flatbed trailers) with pigs, dogs and unemployed musicians, hoisted her aboard, and marched into town. They made a U-turn in front of the fertilizer store and went back to Luann’s house to celebrate.

The antics have continued every year., and grown to be a featured Mardi Gras activity of the Tampa Bay area. More than 25,000 revelers showed up for the celebration that took place on February 5, 2007. A group of volunteers plan and organize the affair and the proceeds from the sale of food and souvenirs provide educational and recreational programs for economically disadvantaged children of the area. The 2007 profit was $10,257.41. There were marching bands, stilt walkers, bed races, a yellow submarine and beads … lots of beads. The Amheuser Busch Clydedales provided wagon rides for children, and Luann was on the float that she and her son built. It featured a 20-foot long, 10-foot high pig with wings.

In years past the parade included a kazoo band, a shotgun dog weddings, and a loudspeaker erupting Elvis Presley music.

What: Rubonia Mardi Gras
When: February 28th, 2010
Where: Bayshore Road area in Rubonia, south of Interstate 275 and west of U.S. 41, near Palmetto. (941) 746-7470.
(To get to Rubonia from St. Petersburg, take I-275 south to Exit 1, then go left on U.S. 41 to Bayshore Road. From Tampa, take I-75 to I-275 and follow the directions above.)

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