Charting a Course for Tampa: Gasparilla Pirate Fest

Pirates, parades and piratechnics” land on the shores of Tampa every winter and have been doing so for more than a century! It’s called Gasparilla. Ever heard of it? I sure hadn’t, but natives describe it as an adult mardis gras with beads, parties and costumes, so of course I had to check it out.

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla hosts the event to celebrate a mythical Spanish pirate who sailed around Florida in the early 1800s. The event attract as many as 300,000 people J. Rex Farrior III, the captain of the Krewe, told the Tampa Bay Times. The paper also said a study shows it has brought in $22 million in economic impact in the past.  That’s a lot of booty!  I helped contribute by purchasing an authentic pirate costume myself! Ahoy!


The pirates sale into town on a giant ship with cannons booming and invade the city. Meanwhile thousands watch and cheer along the shores. The harbor is filled with boats, parties and music. After the invasion is the third largest parade in the United States where pirates clamor to be the first to snatch the beads.

All hands ahoy! Grab ye wench! Set sale on Mar. 4, 2017 for the next Gasparilla!

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