Well shiver me timbers, guess what time of year is it? It's time for the very popular Gasparilla Pirate Festival held in Tampa every year at this time. But do you know why we celebrate Gasparilla?
The name comes from a pirate named Jose Gaspar who pirated Florida's waters during the late 18th, early 19th century. Thinking of disbanding, they decided on seizing one last ship. Little did they know the ship was a US Navy warship disguised. There was a deadly battle, ending with Jose Gaspar's death. In 1904 city officials adopted the event as a yearly citywide celebration. It wasn't till Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla members put on masks, and on horseback staged a fake pirate invasion. It was so popular it turned into the huge Gasparilla event we have today.
So what can you see and do during this widely popular festival? Here is a list of events with the festival starting at 11:00 am.
The Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza is a family friendly event featuring a parade, marching band, performers, and beads! It's from 3:30 - 6:00 and goes down bay To bay Boulevard to Edison Avenue.
The Pirate Fest starts with a parade at 1:00 with Jose Gasparilla sailing into Tampa Bay firing off cannons. This is the world's only fully rigged pirate ship. He will then dock at the Tampa Convention Center. This is when you will see the mayor handing over the key to the city. This is the nation's 3rd largest parade, with street performers, food and music. This is a free event, but you buy reserved seating for $45-60.
The Gasparilla Distance Classic is an annual race that takes place February 25th-26th and benefits many charities in the bay area.
The Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is a free art festival that takes place March 4-5 at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. There is also a week long Gasparilla Film Festival running March 2-9.
All of the events finally end with on Saturday March 4th at the Channelside Plaza when the mayor demands the return of the key to the city and the pirates returning to the sea. It all winds up at 6:30 pm with a final cannon salute.
Keep in mind this event gets very crowded. It drew 300,000 people last year. So dress up like a pirate, have fun and be safe!
|GASPARILLA PIRATE FEST BEADS|