Brandon South Rotary Receives Checks at Brandon Parade Awards Beads being strewn through the air, pirates swaying from the boughs of a pirate ship and waves of hands flittering about, the 50th Annual Brandon Fourth of July Parade was not just a success, but also brought awards to a number of participants.

Recently, the Presidents’ Roundtable ended the festive, annual event at Center Place in Brandon, awarding 12 parade participants. Winners included the Brandon Lions Club for Best Theme, the Summer Band, which includes the Bloomingdale and Brandon marching bands, for Best Musical Marching Unit, River of Life Christian Center for Best Musical Vocal Unit, the Krewe of Fort Brooke for Best Krewe, New World Celts for Best Amateur Performance, Stepps Towing Service for Best Amateur Float, Tampa Electric Company for Best Professional Float, Sweet Memories for Best Decorated Vehicle, Kevin Merschdorf Home Improvement for Most Unusual Vehicle, the Brandon Cowboy cheerleaders for Best Youth Cheerleaders, Boy Scout Troop 11 for Best Marching Unit and Lighthouse Ministries for Presidents’ Roundtable Best Overall Award.

Voted on by three judges with a tallied score of one to 10, participants were judged on specifications for the category in which they entered, which, for this year, was up to four categories. Comprised of 101 “units” and seven divisions, these 12 winners were awarded a honorary plaque for their efforts and participation in the parade.

The Presidents’ Roundtable, an organization that began the parade some 40 years ago, presented the awards. “It [the parade] turned out pretty well, though it was tough this year with our parade chairman retiring,” stated Peggs Stuart, parade chairman. Telling of how the Shriner’s are a division in themselves due to their size, Stuart reminisced the Presidents’ Roundtable’s hand in the parade, having started fledgling activities in 1958 such as a picnic one year and a greased pig contest the next, before becoming a full-fledged parade.

The organization itself has been incorporated since 1957, having 80-100 members at any one given time. Together these members make up an organization that is committed to the community in which they live in with the majority of members being presidents or representatives of local charities. It was molded this way so that these leaders “could get together and tell others about what they were doing, ask for help with those events and see that the groups weren’t conflicting with events on the same day,” said Stuart.

The organization helped to fund Center Place in Brandon, providing funding for its construction, and has helped to bring about the annual Honorary Mayor’s Race, giving more than $44,000 back to local charities in the area this year, which is what Stuart describes as the mission of the organization.

This year’s mayor’s race concluded with Chick-fil-A’s Tammy Holmberg being named Mayor and Dream Limousine’s Jake Piascik coming up an honorable second.

“And to also bring fun to the community,” she added. Giving scholarships to local students, planning the Public Affairs Dinner…the list goes on for this well-known club which meets at Center Place, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B, in Brandon, on the second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. Membership is open to all, so please stop in if you are looking to join an organization that fully impacts your local community.

“It is a great organization. We need new members because we want to do more work and activities in the community,” Stuart concluded. Such things include bringing back the annual Easter Hunt and helping to initiate the annual Senior Christmas Party hosted by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

For more information, call 661-4350.

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Carisa is a Senior News Reporter and Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer. When she's not at work, she continues to write, working on future projects; hangs out with friends and family, her best friend (aka her husband) and her four dogs.