Video:What Is Tampa's Gasparilla Festival?with Jonathon E. Stewart
Tampa's Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a great way to spend a festive week in Florida in January. Here's a brief look at the origin of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival and the kinds of attractions to expect when you attend.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is Tampa's Gasparilla Festival?
Gasparilla Pirate Festival Explanation
Ahoy there! Festivals abound in Florida throughout the year. A great one to enjoy during the month of January in Tampa is the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The event has been held for at least a century. Held in downtown, it features colorfully costumed pirates who invade the city on the pirate ship, Jose Gasparilla. There are canons and pistols as well as hundreds of boats that follow behind in the parade. Jose Gaspar and his Mystic Krewe take the city hostage but generously share a wealth of fun trinkets and pretend doubloons with those that line the parade route, which starts at Bayshore and continues to Bay Boulevards, marching toward the Platt Street Bridge and eastbound on Channelside Drive.
Gasparilla Parade in Tampa
Then, it continues on Florida Avenue, north to Jackson Street, and ends at the intersection of Jackson Street and Marion Street. Each year, the parade gets bigger. In recent years, there have been close to 100 floats, 14 marching bands, and 50 bands of Mystic Krewes, each donning their own unique garb. Even a few female pirates have been spotted. More than just the parade, the festival is actually a series of events that take place over the course of the week. Nowadays, there are adult and children's activities alike. These include the Gasparilla Preschooler's Stroll, the Children's Gasparilla Parade, the Gasparilla Air Invasions and the Gasparilla "Piratechnic" Extravaganza of fireworks. For adults, many of the Pirate Krewes hold their own dances and parties, including a coronation of the King and Queen of Gasparilla. There is also the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch for all you hungry pirates out there.
Information for Tampa Gasparilla Festival
Previously, the festival was celebrated on the second Monday in February, but it was moved to the last Saturday in January way back in 1992. This was thought to accommodate more events as the festival began to grow in popularity. If you are visiting from out of town or are new to the event, be sure to check online for specific information about parking, directions to the events, and tickets. As the festival has grown, there are many more rules to follow. The event has its own website, which provides a wide range of information, including ways to purchase tickets, accommodations, and fun things to wear and enjoy bound to enhance your experience. This is one place where it might be fun to walk the plank and let your inner pirate come out to play.