Thousands come from near & far to see Gasparilla Invasion


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – They’re finally here and hundreds of thousands of people came to greet them!

As Gasparilla pirates made their way to land, crowds gathered along Bayshore Boulevard and surrounded the Tampa Convention Center. 

Many land lovers spoke to 8 On Your Side and said Saturday was their first Gasparilla.  

“I said, ‘We gotta go to the Gasparilla parade and watch this,’ it’s something you’ve never seen before,” said Palm Coast, Florida couple Angel and David Pryor.  

Some came from all over the country just to be a pirate for the day. 

“All my buddies are up north shoveling snow in long pants, layers, four layers of coats. I am down here in shorts, on the water having a good time,” said New Yorker Tommy Vaughn. 

And what better way to celebrate love than by having your bachelorette party at the Gasparilla invasion? That’s what Natalie Berat did.

“It’s considered a holiday in Tampa so I figured, best place to have my bachelorette party was in Tampa,” said Berat.   

On Saturday, several “professional pirates” could be spotted among the large crowds, like Janice and Rick Styblewski. The couple has been coming to Gasparilla for the last 30 years. 

“It gets more crowded, more people, more beads, more fun every year. We love it. It’s great,” said Janice.  

One thing is for certain about Gasparilla: It brings people, pirates and pets together.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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