Land Ho! The Gasparilla Pirate Fest Sets Anchor on Florida's Gulf Coast

Gasparilla Pirate Fest on Floridas Gulf CoastAhoy mateys! Shiver me timbers, it's hard to believe it's that time of year againbut it is. The last Saturday in January brings buccaneers to our shores for the annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest in Tampa.

Avast ye landlubbers and prepare for the 2014 pirate invasion by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on Saturday, January 25. These salty rogues sail into Hillsborough Bay around 11:30a.m. and dock at the Tampa Convention Center at 1p.m. 

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a free community event steeped in over 100 years of tradition, history and legend in the Tampa Bay and the Gulf Coast region. You can find out more about the history and legend of Pirate Jose Gaspar here.
The Gasparilla InvasionGasparilla Pirate Invasion on Florida's Gulf Coast
The majestic pirate ship, the Jose Gasparilla, sails through Hillsborough Bay fully rigged with cannons-a-firing, guns-a-blazing, and hundreds of seaworthy escorts that eventually join in Gasparilla's Flotilla. Gasparilla's Flotilla makes its way north across Hillsborough Bay and into Seddon Channel towards downtown Tampa. 

Mayhem ensues as the Mayor hands over the key to the city to the cap'n of the Ye Mystic Krewe, James C. Von Thron. With the treasured key in their hands, the Krewe of the Gasparilla leads a jolly victory celebration known as the Parade of Pirates down Bayshore Boulevard. 

The Parade of Pirates
The Parade of Pirates runs from 2-5:30p.m. and offers booty, bounty and more. The buccaneers head down historic Bayshore Boulevard and into downtown Tampa during the 3.8-mile-long parade route. Enjoy rousing Gasparilla Parade of Pirates and Street Festivalchants, colorful costumes, and lively music with more than 90 floats, 14 marching bands, and over 50 Krewes. Grab yer mateys and come on out, arrr!

The Street Festival
From 10a.m. to 10p.m. in downtown Tampa, the Pirate Fest Street Festival continues day and night along Ashley Drive from Kennedy Boulevard to Cass Street. Here you'll find live entertainment, grub, grog, and more! (Yo-ho-ho, you can also find Captain Morgan Rum at the beer gardens throughout the event.) The festivities begin before the pirates invade and continue long after the pirates parade through the streets.

The Piratechnics
The boom of the cannons firing is not all you'll hear. Set yer sights on one of the area's largest fireworksGasparilla Pirate Fest Fireworks extravaganzas. The show is launched from barges centered off of the intersection of Howard and Bayshore in South Tampa and is choreographed to music, which can be heard over speakers along Bayshore Boulevard from Bay to Bay to Rome.

More About the Gasparilla Pirate Fest
Well me hearties, if you'd like more information about the Gasparilla Pirate Fest be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions page on the event website. It may also be helpful to visit the Parking Information page to assist with your planning.

The Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza
We'd be remiss not to mention that there's a little something special for the lads 'n' lassies this weekend. On Saturday, January 18 the Children's Gasparilla Extravganza features pirates, parades, piratechnics and an air invasion for the wee ones. The event is free (and alcohol-free) and runs from 11a.m. through 7:30p.m. 

Where to Stay
Make plans to stay on the quiet, pristine beaches of Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores, while still being in close proximity to Tampa and the surrounding Gulf Coast hot spots. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the coast, avoid the crowds, and be conveniently located to the local attractions. It's the best of both worlds! 

We hope to see you at the Gasparilla Pirate Fest for some high seas adventure and bit of carousing. Drop us an ahoy in our comment section if you plan to be there. Aye!

*Photo credit: Gasparilla Pirate Fest.

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