What you need to know about the Children’s Gasparilla Parade and Extravaganza…
It’s that time of year again – when the pirates invade the City of Tampa, the mayor hands over the key to the city, and the people crowd Bayshore Boulevard in hopes of taking home some pirates’ beads. The focal point of this annual celebration is a pirate invasion by José Gaspar and his crew. According to Wikipedia, legend has it that “José Gaspar, supposedly a Spanish nobleman and naval officer who turned to piracy. The legend says that Gasparilla sailed from a secret island base south of Tampa in Charlotte Harbor, plundering ships in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Spanish main from the late 1700s until 1821…” The sounds of cannons and cheers can be heard from just about all our new homes in South Tampa.
The Gasparilla Pirate Festival has been a colorful part of Tampa’s history since 1904. The annual celebration attracts 300,000 people to the main parade with over a million people partaking in the other two parades and related events. One of those other two parades is scheduled for tomorrow. The Children’s Gasparilla Parade, which is more family-friendly, is held every year on the Saturday before the “invastion.” The parade takes place along Bayshore Blvd between Bay to Bay and Watrous/Orleans. There are bleachers and vendor tents lining the street already in anticipation of another great day. While you don’t need a ticket to watch the parade, tickets are available ($28/each) for reserved bleacher seating including a limited number of guaranteed front-row seats ($40/each). The whole event will be televised on Channel 13-WTVT.
The festivities include more than just the parade. The full day of fun kicks off at 11:00 AM on Bayshore. Then at 3:00 PM there will be an air invasion that will feature a precision parachute jump from the United States Special Operation Jump Team. The parade will then get underway at 3:30 and will last until about 6:00.Photo from Chais Realty
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