On the advice of the locals we arrived at 9 am to get a good seat to watch the parade, due to start at 10 am. We found a great spot to set up our chairs here, right at the entrance to the park:
We waited a while. Then Arch went over and asked. And offered a solution. Right up the road being blocked was a lift bridge to let the boats on the river through. Why not just turn on the lights for the lift, or even lift the gate. "I don't know" said the policemen "we were told to put the cars here." Arch just shrugged and walked away. Then we noticed him on the phone:
And then they got in the cars and moved them. He came over and told us he called "the boss" and told him the cars weren't necessary and to turn on the lights at the lift bridge, which they did. And we had a perfect view down the parade route:
The parade was great.
The police were showing off all their fun assets:
|The horses wore their yellow stripe on their ankles|
|This bloodhound was a big hit|
|and of course, the crash test dummy|
There were Southern Belles - no idea why the fisherman was on this float except that fishing is huge here and they had to get it in somewhere.
And of course the Swamp Cabbage Festival Princess and her attendants:
Lots of swamp buggies were on parade. They are, after all, manufactured in LaBelle. You can see more pictures of swamp buggies on our facebook page:
Swamp cabbage is the name given to the heart of the Sabal Palm. You can buy it canned under the name "hearts of palm", which is good in salads but I've never tried to cook it from a can.
The Sabal Palm is indigenous to Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and coastal North Carolina. They are very common and readily available in most areas. They grow wild in such abundance that they are not cultivated as a harvest vegetable.
You can learn more and see how to cook it here. Or the Food Network website has a recipe from Bobby Flay