Pint-sized pirates invade for Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza - WFLA News Channel 8

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Pint-sized pirates invade for Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - It was going to take a lot more than chilly weather to stop 12-year-old Alli Sigrist from getting beads. She was in the front row, about 300 yards from where the Gasparilla Children's Parade began at the corner of Bayshore and Bay To Bay Boulevards. A seasoned veteran, Sigrist had her spot and strategy staked out.

Related content:  Security heightened at this year's Gasparilla festivities

"Just to scream and yell and wave your hands a lot", Sigrist said. "It works well every year".

The Children's Parade has been a Gasparilla staple since 1947. It's a calmer, simpler, shorter stroll down Bayshore, nearly a mile and a half until the end at Watrous Avenue. Young pirates get to show how tough they are. Case in point, Xavier Rowle, who was decked out in a full beard, garnering rave reviews.

"They say it looks cute and I really think it does", Rowle said. "I think I look manly with it".

Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn led the parade and feels the children's event will grow to be as big as the invasion. "They (children) love it", Buckhorn said. "They love the pirates and the floats and the krewes. And most of all, they love the beads. I'm stocked, I'm locked and loaded".

The final act of the evening was the 22-minute fireworks display, warming the hearts of the hearty who stuck around to watch the show on a chilly January night. It brought a sparkly end to the parade while at the same time serving as a festive opening to the 2014 Gasparilla season.

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