Rising Costs for Police and Fire Support Threaten Future of Navarre Beach Mardi Gras Parade

Posted on January 17, 2023 by Romi White

The future of the most popular event on Navarre Beach is uncertain after organizers of the 37th Annual Mardi Gras parade say they were presented bills totaling more than $5,000 for law enforcement security and fire department support.

“It could be the last year,” said Navarre Krewe of Jesters President Deb Carrier, who said Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office requires 22 off-duty paid law enforcement officers to staff the parade at a cost of $42.50 per hour for each deputy.

Charlene Tremor, vice president of the Krewe and chairwoman of the parade, questioned SRSO about the cost, asking if installation of a new traffic signal on the island could eliminate the need for some of the required deputies.

“This is the largest expense for our Krewe, and we do not have many sponsors,” said Charlene Tremor, vice president of the Krewe and chairwoman of the parade.

So far the Krewe only has one in-kind sponsor and an $8,000 sponsorship from the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office; however, the TDO funds are strictly regulated by the Florida law and can only be used for certain costs, excluding law enforcement support. 

“We have to turn in receipts for approved expenditures, such as advertising and Port-A Potties and a few other things, and that total is the only amount we actually receive from them,” Tremor added.

According to Tremor, the Krewe is solely response for the parade expenses and hosts fundraisers throughout the year to help cover costs.

On top of the SRSO expense, Krewe officials say Navarre Beach Fire Rescue is charging $450 for staffing during the event.

Sponsors are still sought for the upcoming parade. Information is available via NKOJ.org or by calling Carrier at 850-586-3537.

Those interested in participating in the parade can download an application via NKOJ.org. A required safety meeting for all entrants is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, February 2 at Holley-Navarre Elks Lodge, located at 2002 Elks Way (behind Shrimp Basket).

The rain or shine parade is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, February 11. The theme of this year’s parade is “Music Throughout the Decades.” The route will remain the same, traveling westward along Gulf Boulevard from Arkansas Street, ending at Navarre Beach Marine Park.