It’s the most wonderful time of year here in Tampa, it’s Gasparilla!
This Saturday, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla will lead pirates into the City of Tampa first with an invasion at 11:30am featuring the famous Jose Gaspar II pirate ship (shown below).The invasion takes place in the waterways between Davis and Harbor Islands; the best view of the invasion on land, is near the Tampa Convention Center and along the Tampa Riverwalk.
After a successful invasion, they will then head for Bayshore Boulevard at approximately 2:00pm for the historic Parade of Pirates! The route is nearly four miles long, beginning at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore continuing down Bayshore before turning onto Brorein Street and heading North on Ashley Drive and then concluding at Cass Street and Ashley Drive. There will be more than 90 floats and over 50 Krewes as well as local organizations and bands in this year’s parade all ready and willing to hand over their precious beads!
This year the Tampa Riverwalk will host live entertainment before and after the Invasion and Parade. From 9am until 9pm, stages will be setup at Ferg’s Live, the Tampa Convention Center, the Sail Pavilion, MacDill Park and Curtis Hixon Park featuring music for all in attendance to enjoy.
The Gasparilla Parade is the third largest parade in the country and usually sees about near 300,000 people in attendance, so arriving early is definitely a good idea. Another good idea, especially if you plan to attend events in downtown as well is to park at the Fort Brooke Parking Garage near Amalie Arena and take the shuttle, which will drop you off at Selmon and Bay to Bay near the parade route. The parking garage does charge a set event fee (usually around $10) and the shuttle is $5 per person.
Be sure to download the FL511 app for constant updates and road closures this weekend in the downtown area.