27 Jan Party like a Pirate Matey!
It’s that time of the year when Tampa welcomes pirates of all ages, shapes and sizes to its annual Gasparilla festival. The history of this almost month-long event began back 1904 when the “Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla” originated and actually carried out a mock pirate invasion of Tampa Bay. It was so popular that it became an annual event. It certainly carried the history and legend of pirates long ago invading Tampa and the alleged exploits of Jose Gaspar – a pirate who is said to have terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida during the late 18th century. While I couldn’t find actual historical evidence supporting the legends of Gaspar – nonetheless, these continued to grow and have inspired an annual event that is one of the largest celebrations in the country and embraced and loved by so many Tampa locals.
The colorful Gasparilla parade runs (literally because I have been in it on several occasions as a flying Southwest Plane and was exhausted at the finish) down Bayshore Blvd traveling along the Hillsborough river. It begins after the flotilla stages its battle against the city and the Pirate Krewe is awarded the keys to the city. It is now considered the third largest parade in the country filled with floats, pirates and their pirate krewes (and their winches or pirate goddesses), marching bands and, of course, lots and lots of beads!!!
The parties are what makes Gasparilla the place to be in Tampa. You can party in a private home or join the “Gasparilla Pub Crawls” or party hearty in Curtis Hixson Park or take in your local restaurant serving all kinds of Pirate food and drinks – from Captain’s Run to “Extra Peg Legs” (aka mini sausages) to those “Crown Jewels” we know as Ring Pops. Creativity takes all of it to the next level and usually it has been my experience that there is enough alcohol involved – before during and after the parade- that no one really cares what it’s called or how it tastes.
There are lots of great food that will be served and afe. enjoyed during the festival and lots of alcohol that will be consumed. This is a great ti enjoyed during the festival and lots of alcohol that will be consumed. This is a great time to Eat. Drink. Local and be safe.