The Story of Our Fancy Gamblers and Saloon Girls
The Story of The Krewe of Pair O' Dice
Hello! Please allow us to introduce ourselves. First, you’ll perhaps notice the play on words in our name. The Tampa Bay area can certainly be regarded as “Paradise,”’ but, change the spelling a bit, and you have a “krewe” of sharply dressed Bay Area professional men and women who pose as fancy gamblers and saloon showgirls riding aboard a riverboat float through Bay Area parades, by the name “Krewe of Pair O’ Dice.”
The Krewe was founded in 1995 by a family of three Tampa native sisters and their husbands, Marlene & Barry Alspach, Yvonne & Scott Painton, and Nancy & Benny Gomez. These Founders had a vision of a “krewe” of their family members and friends participating in some of Tampa’s most exciting events, having as much fun as we can with our boots on, and making a contribution to our community. Within six months of that vision, the Krewe debuted as “Casino Dealers” aboard a leased riverboat float in the 1996 Gasparilla Parade of The Pirates and several other parades that followed that year. This family knows how to get things done!
By our third year, the Krewe debuted its own 50-foot Riverboat Float, designed and built under the direction and supervision of co-Founder and General Contractor Barry Alspach, and had recruited nearly 100 members, which was the ultimate goal. The float and Krewe have won numerous awards in various parades over the years. As the Krewe grew, ideas blossomed and costumes changed. You’ll now find Krewe of Pair O’ Dice members dressed as 1800’s-style Fancy Riverboat Gamblers and Saloon Showgirls. The Krewe provides not only a beautiful “home on wheels” for its members during parades, complete with the best music and sound system you’ll hear in any parade, but “wines and dines” them with catered food at each parade and a fully-stocked bar complete with bartenders. Not a shabby way to spend a day or evening!
Krewe of Pair O’ Dice participates in Tampa’s historic Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates, the Gasparilla Children’s Parade, the Knights of Sant’ Yago’s Illuminated Knight Parade in Ybor City, the Rough Riders’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parade and many other local and regional festivities. It’s a great social and business networking adventure, not to mention a party that never ends!
On a more serious note, Krewe of Pair O’ Dice gives back to the community through fundraising and contributions to assist Bay Area families and children in need, as well as local organizations that provide for stray and homeless animals. Our main charities include Good Samaritan Mission, the Animal Coalition of Tampa, and several Bay Area schools.
The Krewe has truly become one big “family.” Committees work independently as well as together to ensure that every event and/or parade comes off without a hitch. Members join in to add their expertise and creativity, which makes for a perfect “krewe” of people who love being together, working together, having fun together, and living by our motto: “Life’s a Gamble…Roll With It!”
Left to Right: Nancy & Benny Gomez, Yvonne & Scott Painton, and Marlene & Barry Alspach