TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For Richard Chapman, Gasparilla is a story about family.
Chapman serves as the King for Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla this year. His family has been a part of the fun for decades.
“That’s my uncle and my mother going to Coronation back in 1950,” said Chapman as he held up a photo taken during the Krewe’s Coronation Ball many decades ago.
Chapman has taken part in the festivities since he was young.
“When you are 11 or 12 you are a page, so you serve at the coronation and you walk behind the king or the queen, so you participate,” Chapman explained.
The ball is also where Chapman had his first date with his wife.
Gasparilla spans generations for their families and for others.
“Some guys will be walking with their grandfathers in this parade and certainly their fathers,” Chapman said.
On Saturday, several hundred thousand people will line Bayshore Boulevard and the streets of downtown Tampa for the invasion and parade.
Tampa’s first krewe, the Ye Mystic Krewe is one of more than 100 organizations taking part in the festivities.
“Gasparilla is one day out of the year, you celebrate the tradition, but really 364 days out of the year you’re here working, being part of Tampa, you live here, you worship here, you support all of the organizations here, you try to make this a great place,” said Chapman.