Gasparilla – Pirates invade Tampa Bay

2:21 PM

In 1904 a pirate and his buccaneers invaded the bay of the city of Tampa, or so the legend says… No, it wasn’t Jack Sparrow or Barbosa… it was Jose Gaspar…. And every year in January he returns to reclaim the city.

Gaspar’s ship, Gasparilla, appears at the south end of the Hillsborough Bay surrounded by other crafts – little and big, all trying to defend the city. They head to the Seddon Channel, located between Davis Island and Harbour Island.  Cannon fire sounds fill the city and everyone, even the mayor of Tampa surrenders to Gasparilla.

Well, not really, they surrender to alcohol! Arghhh!!!

If you haven’t been to this wonder of event, be sure to make plans for next year.  This year, the date is set for Saturday, January 26, 2013.

Like we said, aside from pirates, there’s what pirates like most, booze! Drinking is a very big part of Gasparilla but is not the only thing, it is a cultural experience not to be missed.
After the invasion, Gasparilla and his ‘krewe’ take the downtown area, in what it is called a victory parade.  They celebrate by sharing their new ‘wealth’ of beads, treasures and more with the crowd.

If it sounds a little bit like Mardi Gras, is because it kind of is: parade, beads, music, food… it is quite a carnival of sorts.

But better than words are images. So enjoy this video of the invasion of 2012 and see for yourself if you want to become a Gasparilla buccaneer.

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