22 January . 2019
How to Conquer Gasparilla Like a Pirate Pro
Gasparilla is a Tampa tradition that dates back to 1905 and offers something for everyone. The festivities go on not just all day and night, but for multiple weekends in a row! Grab your eye patch, lace up your boots, and read on for 5 tips to truly conquer Gasparilla!
Know the History
Learn the History of Gasparilla before your step out onto the streets in order to truly appreciate it. It will be way more fun when you know the story behind why the entire festival is based on pirates invading Tampa Bay! On the morning of the Gasparilla street parade, the infamous pirate ship, the Jose Gasparilla, invades Tampa Bay, sailed by legendary pirate Jose Gaspar. In this annual re-enactment of Tampa’s historic pirate invasion, the Gasparilla Flotilla docks at the Tampa Convention Center, where the Mayor surrenders the Key to the City of Tampa into the hands of the Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.
Choose Your Celebration
Like we said, Gasparilla lasts for several weekends and there are a number of ways to celebrate. You can enjoy the Children’s Parade with your little pirates, take to the water, or try and catch beads at the Parade of Pirates - the third largest parade in the US. There’s also a night parade that takes place in Ybor.
To make the most of your Gasparilla experience, consider dressing up like a pirate - trust us, you won’t be the only one. Opt for just a simple pirate hat or go for an elaborate get up!
With all the fun comes crowds and heavier traffic, so plan to give yourself plenty of time to get there and get settled so you can enjoy the festivities without any stress. You probably also want to eat ahead of time - especially if you’ll be consuming adult beverages.
Parking will be limited - and expensive. Take an Uber or Lyft, especially if you plan on drinking. Even then, be prepared to walk, since road closures will prevent your driver from getting close to the parade route anyways. Another alternative? Have a Gasparilla party at your house, far from the raucous downtown scene!
However you choose to celebrate, have fun and be responsible. Cheers, matey!
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