By Nartaka Gopala dasi
Saturday, May 6, 2017: A group of four of us drove the 168 miles from Alachua, Florida to Clearwater Beach, Florida. It was very beautiful as we drove for miles across Old Tampa Bay with the ocean on both sides of the road. As we neared the venue I saw Clearwater Beach Mayor George Cretekos walking down the street with a huge maha flower garland around his neck, and looking happy. Narayani devi dasi later told me that when he spoke at the Ratha Yatra opening ceremony a few minutes earlier, he had thanked the devotees for coming every year and purifying the negative elements at Clearwater Beach. Arriving at the venue, Pier 60, we had to wait 20 minutes for a parking spot, but we could see that this was one of the best locations for a Ratha Yatra in the state of Florida, due to the crowds of people drawn to this particular beach every weekend.