Ashley Children’s Gasparilla Presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay Announces 2024 Grand Marshals and Community Hero
Tampa, Fla. (January 9, 2024) – Today, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG), and EventFest announced that WWE® Superstars Bianca Belair and Montez Ford will serve as the Grand Marshals for the 2024 Ashley Children’s Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay on Saturday, January 20. New York Mets’ first baseman and Tampa native Pete Alonso will be honored as this year’s Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay Community Hero for his philanthropic work. The Grand Marshals and Community Hero arrive in Tampa ahead of their notable community events, WWE’s Royal Rumble (Saturday, January 27) and Pete Alonso’s Battle for the Bay (Sunday, January 21).
“We’re excited to have the dynamic duo WWE® Superstars Bianca Belair and Montez Ford, and MLB powerhouse Pete Alonso lead the charge down Bayshore Blvd as this year’s Grand Marshals and Community Hero,” said Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Captain Truett Gardner. “Together, they form an unbeatable tag team, proving that whether it’s in the squared circle, the baseball diamond, or on the high seas, champions take the lead.”
Children’s Gasparilla is a family-friendly and alcohol-free celebration set to take place on Saturday, January 20, beginning at Noon. Gasparilla Preschooler’s Stroll presented by Primrose Schools, will start at 2 p.m. The Children’s Gasparilla Parade steps off at 4 p.m., with the Grand Marshals and Community Hero leading over 100 parade floats, krewes, marching bands, dance units, school organizations, and community groups down a 1.5-mile stretch of Bayshore Boulevard. As they march down the route, Belair and Ford will be joined by dozens of local children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay and The Special Olympics.
Bianca Belair is such a superlative competitor that she considers herself The EST of WWE®. Proclaiming to be the strongest, fastest, toughest and all-around best Superstar going, Belair has been an exceptional athlete her entire life. Though she relies on rugged power, Belair can be creatively merciless, too, using her long hair braid to whip opponents to shreds. Showing remarkable progress quickly, Belair emerged at WrestleMania 36 to lend a helping hand to The Street Profits, her husband, Montez Ford’s tag team. Since then, she has won more titles, continuing to prove that she was indeed The EST of SmackDown.
Belair will share her Grand Marshal duties with her husband, Montez Ford, one-half of The Street Profits tag team. Since bursting on the scene in 2016, Ford has been gelling eye-popping aerial attacks with his partner Angelo Dawkins’ brute force. Traveling up through the ranks of the WWE®, they continued to chase the gold, competing in thrilling bouts throughout RAW and later SmackDown. With the WWE® Universe by his side and a red cup in hand, he’s destined to be a major player in the tag team division for years to come.
Rounding out this year’s honorees is Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay Community Hero, Pete Alonso. A Tampa native, Alonso was a star at the University of Florida, memorably clubbing the longest home run in College World Series history, before quickly ascending through the minor leagues and achieving his dream of making the big league roster during the 2019 Spring Training season. The Plant High School alum is now a three-time All-Star first baseman for the New York Mets, winning Rookie of the Year (2019) and Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby twice. In 2020, he and his wife, Haley, founded The Alonso Foundation, which creates a positive and lasting impact in the New York and Tampa Bay communities by supporting youth causes, providing aid for veterans, and promoting animal welfare.
Reserved seating for Children’s Gasparilla is available for purchase at GasparillaTreasures.com. You can also follow the Gasparilla celebrations on social media (@GasparillaTampa).
Ashley Children’s Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay and Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest is marketed, managed, and produced annually by EventFest, Inc.