Gasparilla Pirate Fest
This is the big one. The annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest is perhaps one of the largest annual events in the state of Florida. It takes place every last Saturday in January in the city of TAMPA. This is the centennial year for the festival. Over 500,000 spectators are expected this Saturday, Jan.30.
The kick-off takes place near the noon hour in Tampa Bay where a flotilla of every pleasure
craft imaginable navigates the harbor
lead by an actual replica of Jose
Gasparilla’s pirate ship that invaded the city in 1850. A gangly band of pirates open fire on the city, then
take the city by surprise.
Entering Hillsboro Bay they invade the ramparts and march up Bayshore Blvd.
accompanied by their followers of all strips dressed in pirate regalia and menacing gear and festooned with a copious amount of colorful beads, blusterly jewelry and makeup. More than 800 pirates have been counted to march this year in the largest parade ever. Jim Robbins is this year’s Captain of the Fleet, the
leader of Ye Mystic Krewr of Gasparilla. He lands his frigate at the dock facing the Tampa Bay Convention Center where a huge party takes place and accompanied by a score of marching bands. Three invasion stages have been set up to
accomodate the horde. One at Bayshore Blvd. and Platt Street, the other at Curtis Hanson Park and a third at Whiting and Tampa Sts, just under the arch of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Tampa.
The Seminole Hard Rock, The Tampa Tribune, Southwest Airlines and McDonalds are the primary sponsors here. The entire event is being organized by the EventFest company of Tampa. So for “Pirates, Parades, and Piratechnics,” this is the place to be this Saturday in Tampa, Fl.
See you there.
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