TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tens of thousands of pirates and people alike packed onto the medians of Bayshore Boulevard on Saturday for Children’s Gasparilla, the family friendly precursor to the citywide celebration on January 28.
“I just think it’s really festive,” said Keila Akingboye. “I really like the mood of everyone.”
The parade went off without a hitch, thanks to cooperating weather. It was Akingboye’s first time.
“I like how everyone’s dressing up and everything,” Akingboye said. “There are a lot of dogs.”
That included some fuzzy first mates with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s krewe.
“We have always brought puppies out with us and a lot of our krewe members will bring their dogs with them as well,” Liz McCoy with the Humane Society said. “We have lots of doggies out to celebrate and meet the kids.”
The Society brought six Shepherd mixes out, including Tyson, the puppy McCoy held in her arms. One was already on hold before the parade even started.
“The parade is always so much fun,” McCoy gushed. “It’s always great to see kids faces light up when we come by with the dogs.”
Parents enjoyed the family friendly atmosphere.
“I’m really glad that they have a kid’s Gasparilla where they can see their peers,” Temi Akingboye said. “They can enjoy the festivities from that angle.”
As usual, the kids along the parade route had only beads on their minds, but there was plenty of variety in floats and krewes.
“I liked the dragon one,” said one spectator. “I also liked the one with the skull that had the red water coming down.”
The day ended with a nighttime air invasion and a ‘Piratechnic Extravaganza’ — fireworks to cap off the show.