2023 Gasparilla Festival brings thousands of visitors to Tampa, Florida

Pirate raid boats in the water with a view of the city of Tampa during Gasparilla Festival – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Yes I Shoot Models

Arrrgh! The 2023 Gasparilla Pirate Festival is over in a flash and numerous scallywags flocked to Tampa’s streets to take advantage of the bonanza.

On Saturday, more than 100 floats with dancing crews blasting high-energy music rolled by as an estimated 300,000 onlookers lined the streets and were showered with sparkling beads. Many of them were dressed in their best pirate garb.

In case you missed it, the approximately 4.5-mile parade route also featured five marching bands and more than 50 different Krewes. It started at Bay to Bay and Bayshore and finished at Cass Street and Ashley Drive.

The Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla received the key to Tampa from Mayor Jane Castor just before the parade started.

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla set sail for the Port of Tampa Bay on their pirate ship called the “Jose Gasparilla” at approximately one o’clock in the afternoon with many novice pirates who are not accustomed with the plundering. A fleet of several smaller ships pursuing the action in close pursuit was trailing behind.

Following that, the ship traveled between Davis Islands and Harbour Island along the Seddon Channel.

When the Jose Gasparilla arrived at the Convention Center, its captain requested Mayor Jane Castor give him the key to the city of Tampa.

The pirates got possession of the key and celebrated their victory by leading a procession down Bayshore Boulevard while dispersing their treasure of beads and loot.

The Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla initially staged the Gasparilla parade in 1904, and ever since then it has become an annual event in Tampa. It currently ranks behind the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the third-largest parade in the country.

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