TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Despite chilly weather, Gasparilla went off without a hitch Saturday. Thousands shut down Bayshore for the return of the Tampa tradition.

It was Lauren Bartke and her children’s first time at the parade and a Christmas gift from her uncle.

“He got us seats and a tent and we’ll see my uncle and have fun,” Bartke said. “I’m excited to see the floats, we have friends in a crew so we’ll say hi to them.”

For miles, crowds welcomed back more than a hundred krewes, marching bands and floats. Beads were tossed into the crowd along the parade route.

There were many first-timers Saturday like Tre Smitty. He was in town visiting a friend, so he’s made the most of his trip.

“Being that this is after COVID, I think this is amazing, to have everyone out, vendors making money it’s great,” Smitty said. “People watching and the costumes is what I’m looking forward to, and fellowship with my bros.”

Soon after it ended crews came in to start cleaning up. Bartke said it’s an experience she and her children will never forget.

“It’s crazy with the beads, people, pirates, music,” Bartke said.

Andrew Slywka has gone to his share of pirate parades over the years. He was surprised to see how many people showed up.

“I thought it would be a lesser crowd but it’s great to see everyone support Tampa,” Slywka said. “COVID set us back but it’s good to be back.”