If you are a Tampa native, or you spend any time around anyone who lives in Tampa, then you love this time of year! Yes, our boring New Year’s resolutions are under way and the festive holiday season is behind us, but Tampa residents are lucky enough to party one last time.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have one word for you: Gasparilla! Grab your eye-patch and re-attach that wooden leg because the pirates are moving into Tampa Bay. The fun begins on January 18th, so hurry up and mark your calendars with these dates now!
Gasparilla Children’s Parade | This year, Gasparilla begins with the children’s parade. This is a great opportunity to get the kids involved in the fun and excitement of Gasparilla while avoiding the debauchery that takes place during the “adult” festivities.
- At 11am on Saturday, January 18th, the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza vendors and activities will line Bayshore Blvd.
- At 1:30pm, the Gasparilla Preschooler’s Stroll will begin and will feature the youngest, and cutest, pirates of Tampa Bay.
- The Gasparilla Air Invasion will begin at 3pm and will feature a parachute jump from the United States Special Operation Jump Team.
- At 3:30pm, the Children’s Gasparilla Parade will begin! The parade will begin at Bay to Bay and Bayshore and will end at Watrous/Orleans Ave and Bayshore.
- At 7pm, the “Piratechnic” Extravaganza will begin. The “Piratechnic” display is the largest display of the year! It will re-create the imaginary sea battle between the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa. Admission is FREE.
Gasparilla Pirate Fest | Clear your schedule, buy a pet parrot and wash your favorite shot glass! The Gasparilla Pirate Fest is an all day celebration of the pirates of Tampa Bay with a bit of an “adult” edge.
- At 10am on Saturday, January 25th, the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch will begin at the Tampa Convention Center (tickets are required).
- Eat fast because during the brunch, at 11:30am, the Jose Gasparilla will set sail for the Gasparilla Invasion. The best place to view the invasion is from the Convention Center (tickets are required) or downtown Tampa.
- At 2pm, the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates begins. The parade begins at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard and ends at Cass Street & Ashley Drive. Admission is FREE.
- The Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival will be happening at the same time as the festivities mentioned above. At 10am on January 25th, the streets of downtown Tampa will be filled with pirates! The Pirate Fest Street Festival will be in Downtown Tampa, along Ashley Drive from Kennedy Blvd. to Cass Street. Admission is FREE.
Knight Parade | The bender continues into February with the Knight Parade!
- On Saturday, February 8th, the Knight Parade will begin at 7pm. Head to the streets of Ybor for a night of live entertainment, wild parade festivities and much more.
Gasparilla Music Festival | Here in Tampa, we feel it’s only right that we make the party last for yet another month.
- The music festival will take place on March 8th and 9th at Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park.
- This year’s lineup includes The Flaming Lips and Delta Spirit among others.
- Tickets are on sale now.
***Please enjoy yourself, but do it responsibly!
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Vanessa Rao/ CW44 Tampa Bay