Avast ye matey! Today is the day! Gasparilla!!
Ever wanted to just be a pirate? Just for a little while? Come to Tampa in January. We like to celebrate pirates for a good solid MONTH.
Picture from: tampapix.com/lafayette3.htm Gasparilla Parade 1913
What is this….parade I speak of? Well. its quite a few things. Its a glorious, terrible, amazing, chaotic tradition we have down here in the heart of Tampa.
Its beautiful because it started back in 1905 as a collaboration of extending a festival and it was planned to coincide with another event and look like a “pirate invasion” was happening to the city.
Its terrible because its miles of smutty, dirty, drunk, obnoxious people as it is now a huge drunk fest along Bayshore.
Its chaotic because of the first two reasons. Drunk people. Pirate invasion. HOWEVER, the last 4-5 years I have had the ultimate pleasure of walking from my own home, and watching the awesome parade from a much nicer/cleaner/calmer side of town. Smack dab downtown ashley street. I pretty much go to the end of the route. Theres food trucks, a giant park that has a music concert after ( I usually leave by then though-see drunk people. Crowds. Not interested.)
Here is how Gasparilla starts.
This is how it ends…..
This isn’t even a great post. I just need other states to understand. Pillaging/Marauding/Pirating happens. But only in the form of pirates invading the Bay, stealing the Mayor, demanding the key, and then tossing beads 3 weekends out of the year at us. I don’t even notice when fellow coworkers show up to work dressed fully as Blackbeard. We only own boots in tampa so that women can be “wenches” or pirate ladies for the day! There are many terrible incidents that do happen. (fights/crime of all sorts) But I have had nothing but pleasant experiences. Even that little penis pictured above ended up being a conversation piece for 30 people and a blushing me when someone handed it to me. The weather this year has deemed itself perfect-overcast and in the upper 50’s. I wish everyone who goes today a safe travel!