TAMPA, Fla. — Gasparilla made its comeback Saturday with the children’s parade on Bayshore Boulevard. It was a parade for pint-sized pirates. People bundled up and packed out stands to catch beads and watch pirate ships float by.

“Just the way they have all of the guns and cannons and all that stuff,” Eileen Swain said. “It’s pretty cool.”

“I mean the kids love them. All the parades and all the beads — the pirates all dressed up — they love it,” said Lisa Segler, who brought her five grandkids to the parade.

“We come out early to find a parking spot and to get up by the fence so we can see it.”

They’re long time fans of Gasparilla and couldn’t miss its return.

“This is huge. I’m not even from Tampa. I mean the first one we’ve seen was probably 15 to years ago? The first one we’ve ever seen,” Segler said.

This year’s celebration was bigger and better, after taking a year off because of COVID-19. Mayor Jane Castor said she’s excited for all of the festivities.

“We have all been as a community we have been through almost two years of a pandemic. So to be able to come out and safely come out and gather for our signature event is exciting.”

The adult Gasparilla is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29.