We know that most of the beads go home and become part of the parade-goers collection. Some sadly end up in Tampa Bay, while others end up on the ground. The City of Tampa and volunteer groups like Keeping Tampa Bay Beautiful do a great job of cleaning up the discarded beads. Those left behind Gasparilla beads go to the MacDonald Training Center.
If you weren’t aware, the MacDonald Training Center employs people of varying abilities who are working to gain independence. Their employees will get to work untangling the beads collected, then start grouping and packaging them for sale to the public. In 2020, they took in over 4000 pounds of beads! MacDonald Training Center sells a bag of 1000 bead necklaces for $60.
Environment kept clean by keeping beads out of the bay and the landfill, people learning skills to improve their lives, and beads ready to be used for the following year’s Gasparilla festivities. We like it!
[SOURCE Fox 13]
Some of Tampa’s most incredible hurricane photos…
Remember when the water along Bayshore Boulevard disappeared? If you look close, you might see Gasparilla beads in the mud!