TAMPA, Fla. (WFL A)- Local businesses in the Tampa Bay area have begun preparing for the return of Gasparilla after the pirate invasion was called off last year due to the pandemic.
Buccaneer Beads, located in East Tampa, has seen sales ramp up this month as customers stock up on their pirate garb.
Some local organizations even began picking up their pirate bling back in November and December.
According to Buccaneer Beads President Jennifer Grindell, it takes truckloads of boxes with millions of beads to be prepared for this time of the year.
“I have two warehouses outside. I have two trucks on the way here. I have to make sure I have enough for [the] Children’s Parade, Gasparilla, MLK parades. There’s over 90 parades in the state through the year,” Grindell said.
Like several local businesses in Tampa Bay, Buccaneer Beads was deeply impacted when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the shutdown of several large events in 2020 and 2021.
The fact that the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is planned to be bigger and better this year is hyping up business owner and residents.
“We’re just ecstatic. It’s great to see everybody again and everyone is just so happy and ready to get out there and parade again,” Grindell said.
The Gasparilla Children’s Parade is scheduled to be held on Jan. 22.
The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is on Jan. 29.
You can watch the Parade of Pirates on WFLA News Channel 8 and online at WFLA Now beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 29.