We moseyed on down to Duval street for the annual Parade of Beds, followed by its associated Red Ribbon Bed Race. So, the way this worked was that the homemade beds, pretty much all created and built by drag queens, drove up Duval in the parade, after which they raced two at a time, against each other, down the street.
Before the parade started, we had an ice cream cone, of which Joe's came with a spoon and instructions. It was an orange sherbet and vanilla swirl cone, and the guy said as he handed Joe the cone, "Make sure you hold this upright, and use this spoon, because it will break apart."
Also before the parade started, there was an opportunity to buy an official Bed Race T-shirt:
The police rode led off the parade, making sure the streets were clear as the beds made their way.
As most of the fundraisers for the gay community, this one benefited a good cause.
The first bed entry was enjoyed by a king and a queen, though I expect deep down, they were both queens.
The next entry was the bed from our guest house—The Island House.
The next bed entry was of some pirates, and the pirate lady in this picture is heading right toward me with a grape in her hand, which she proceeded to dangle over my mouth with two fingers until I licked it and took it between my teeth.
There were all kinds of people watching the parade: gay, straight, women, men, old, young, and the very young. Here's a little cutie stylin' and enjoying his knotted balloon animal.
I don't know who sponsored this next entry, but I liked the strategically placed bicycle helmet on the guy in the bed, and the thighs and quads on the turquoise shirt boy standing beside the bed.
The next bed was, in some way, sponsored by Guinness.
Next in the parade was a bed entry by Paradise Tattoo.
The Scooby-Do bed brought up the rear of the parade.
At the end of the parade, we moved down the street a little to a little bar called Fat Tuesday, which sold expensive, frozen alcoholic drinks. Joe got a Margarita, and I got a Kahlua Mudslide. They were both just okay drinks—nothing great, and both froze the hell out of our palates several times in the course of drinking them.
We watched the race part of the day from here, which started shortly after the parade finished. Two cops, each on motorcycles drove like maniacs up and down the long, long street between each two sets of beds that were racing against each other at a time.
I only took one picture of the race, and it's this one from the steps of Fat Tuesday, with the misters spraying down from above.
Toward the end of the race, we met up with Patti, who was now Joe's best friend forever, and we crossed the street to The Bull Bar, where we had a few drinks while some of the others in the group caught up with us. This man was standing in front of the street, and at one point that parrot took a sip of his drink through the straw.
Shortly after I took this picture, the guy roller-bladed away, and as he started to move that bird's claws gripped the back of his t-shirt to hang on tight.
Before moving on from this place to have dinner at Sloppy Joe's, we snapped this picture of some of the rest of the group, from left to right: Joe, Melinda, Erin, and Patti.
I snapped this picture of Kirk and Patti at Sloppy Joe's. Kirk and Patti had met recently and were such fun and open people. Kirk has a gay brother, so he was totally comfortable around us, which we totally appreciated.
Kirk is told a lot that he looks like Dr. Drew, which I agree with. I also think he looks like Keith Olbermann.
After a fun dinner, during which I sat next to a beautiful mother-daughter of the group, and had some great, fun conversation, we all headed down to a bar deck down at Mallory Square to watch the sunset. There, our group "picked up" yet another two people, Mandy and I didn't get her husband's name, a couple from Chicago who were there celebrating their 11th I think it was, anniversary.
I checked in with Robert from here, and he told us that Bea Arthur had died. Sadness. It was so good to hear Robert's voice, though. Here are some pics from the bar deck:
Joe and beautiful Erin.
And a blurry group shot. I hope we get another, clear, one from the group sent to us once they all get back home.
Let me capture all these names while I can remember them. From left to right, back row first: Mandy's husband behind Mandy, yours truly, Melinda (who is Kirk's cousin), Erin, Kirk, Joe; front row: CJ, Patti, Alice (the older lady who was an absolute hoot!), Mike, Brenda, and Kelly.
Our final stop of the night was at Two Friends Bar, where karaoke was in progress. Joe sang two songs, and when he went up to do his first one, Sweet Caroline, Mike went up with him and led the entire bar in Happy Birthday, after putting that straw hat on him.
And for my final number, Joe during his second number, At This Moment.
At a little after 11:00, I was exhausted after a non-stop day for us since 2:00 in the afternoon, and I left Joe in good hands with the gang.