TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The littlest pirates are ready for an invasion. They’re taking over the streets of Tampa for Children’s Gasparilla Saturday.

The event has been a Tampa tradition for more than 75 years and marks the start of the Gasparilla season. The pirate fest for adults occurs the next weekend.

“It’s really fun to see the reactions; it’s pure joy,” Maiken Stefany with EventFest said.

It requires thousands of manhours to prepare for the festivities. The planning for the events begins a year in advance. Organizers expect more than 100,000 people to line Bayshore Boulevard for the fun.

“It’s really important for us as an office and for the community to have a family-friendly event,” Stefany said. “The big difference between the two is that there’s no alcohol served at the Children’s event. It’s a much smaller crowd, it’s [a] very family-friendly event. Everything is geared towards the children.”

Multiple city agencies, including law enforcement, collaborate to make sure all events are safe and family-friendly.

This is the timeline of events for the 2023 Children’s Gasparilla:

  • Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Rodeo: 12:00 – 2:00
  • Gasparilla Air Invasion: 12:00 – 4:00
  • Preschoolers’ Stroll: 2:00 – 3:00
  • Children’s Gasparilla Parade: 4:00 – 6:30
  • Nighttime Air Invasion: 6:30 – 7:00

Road closure and parking information can be found here: Children’s Gasparilla (gasparillapiratefest.com)