Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Parade

In 1904, the mystical legend of Jose Gaspar and his merry mates came to life, as members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla donned their most colorful pirate dress, boarded their ship and sailed into downtown Tampa, transforming Tampa's downtown waterfront into a spectacular celebration.

100 years later, his legend still comes alive once a year bringing merriment and festivity to Tampa. Historically, the Event has included several unique parts . . .

Red Baron Pizza's “Piratechnic” Extravaganza and The Children's Gasparilla Parade

Generally, the last Saturday of January officially launches the Gasparilla celebration in Tampa when the Children’s Gasparilla Parade marches down Bayshore Boulevard. This annual alcohol-free family event features Red Baron Pizza’s "Piratechnic" Extravaganza -- an imaginary sea battle, depicted by a spectacular fireworks display, takes place between the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa. Of course the "pirates" win again, and their victory makes way for Tampa's historic Gasparilla Invasion on the following Saturday.

Amazingly, since 1904, the pirates have won this "battle" with the City of Tampa and with victory in hand, the stage is set for a smooth, colorful and festive invasion of the City of Tampa on the following Saturday!

The Children's Gasparilla Parade, a part of Tampa's Gasparilla celebration since 1947, has been relocated to Bayshore Boulevard, as Tampa's children have the opportunity to "parade" on the same route as the historic Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates scheduled for the following Saturday.

The Gasparilla Invasion
For a century, hundreds of colorfully costumed pirates "sail" into downtown Tampa on their pirate ship - the Jose Gasparilla, with canons and pistols blazing, accompanied by a flotilla of hundreds of boats.

Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates
The Captain and his Krewe capture the city (with little resistance), and share their wealth of trinkets and doubloons with the enthusiastic crowd along the Parade route. This historic Parade begins two miles south of Downtown Tampa on scenic Bayshore Boulevard and winds along Hillsborough Bay into Downtown to the delight of several hundred thousand festival onlookers from the Tampa Bay area and across the region.

Pirate Fest Street Festival
Added to Gasparilla in 1985, the Pirate Fest Street Festival continues the day's celebration on into the night, as the fun continues with a musical celebration on stages throughout downtown Tampa. In recent years, Gasparilla Pirate Fest has played host to acts such as: Paula Cole, the Backstreet Boys, Richard Elliot, Starship, Eddie Money, FireFall and Paula Abdul. In 1995, the Street Fest moved from Franklin Street to Curtis Hixon Park and along Ashley Street in order to accommodate the large crowds. For the 2003 event, the Street Fest will have a new home once again! The “piratical” fun will be centered in the downtown area along Franklin Street from Whiting to Brorein.

Tampa Bay's Community Celebration
Since 1904, this Event annually renews the spirit of adventure found in all of us. With average attendance of over 400,000, and through the support of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, participating Krewes and event sponsors, Gasparilla - a century-long community celebration that has become synonymous with Tampa Bay, is promised for generations to come.

Details & Events

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