Behind the Mask: Krewe of Andres de Pez rooted in Pensacola history and philanthropy

Photo: Krewe of Andres de Pez Source: WEAR Kathryn Daniel

Our latest Mardi Gras Krewe combines frivolity, history and a whole lot of philanthropy.

Boyce White started the Krewe of Andres de Pez back in 2000. He gathered 10 friends to launch the effort.

White said, "They loved it and I said, 'I found 10, you go find another five.' They came back and said, 'can we get more?' So, in the first year, we had 102."

Today they number 230 members and recently added a second float to their fleet. The all-male krewe honors their namesake, a Spanish conquistador.

White elaborated, "We are a living tribute to Andres de Pez, and if it weren't for him, Pensacola wouldn't have been founded."

Krewe President Rui Ramos has been a member for five years. He said he's found his place to have fun and serve his community with like-minded men.

He said, "The brotherhood; I was in the military and that's a huge brotherhood and that's something we have here."

The list of local nonprofit groups they support is extensive.

He continued, "The U.S.O. is near and dear to my heart."

Ramos said they work hard to sponsor many community groups.

"We also donate to the Manna Food Bank- that's another big charity we've donated to."

First Tee Pensacola and WEAR ABC 3's and United Way's Cram the Van are also favorite causes of de Pez members.

This past hurricane season, they were a huge part of local relief efforts for Houston and South Florida storm victims.

White elaborated, "One of our members is a member of Two Men and a Truck and he called the corporate office. They got the trucks and he put the word out on our website and it just blossomed from there."

Through a collective community effort, they helped transport 65 tons of relief supplies.

White said he originally founded the Krewe of Andres de Pez to have fun and preserve Pensacola history but chances to serve kept presenting themselves- and the more they gave, the closer they grew.

Ramos said they all love the beads, parades and carnival balls, but pitching in as a unit is what makes them a team.

He smiled, "We do a lot behind the scenes, cookouts, family are always invited so it's really a tight-knit group."

On Friday morning, we wrap up our series "Behind the Mask" with the Krewe of Daisy Dukes.

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