TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Blimey! Just like that the 2023 Gasparilla Pirate Festival is over. Hundreds of scallywags took to the streets of Tampa to catch their share of the bounty.
In case you missed this year’s parade, there were 100-plus floats, five marching bands, and more than 50 distinct Krewes that marched the nearly 4.5-mile parade route, which began at Bay to Bay and Bayshore and ended at Cass Street and Ashley Drive.
The parade went underway shortly after the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla secured the key to the city of Tampa from Mayor Jane Castor.
For new pirates who are unfamiliar with the plundering, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla set sail for the Port of Tampa Bay around 1 p.m. aboard their pirate ship named the “Jose Gasparilla.” Following closely behind was a fleet of hundreds of smaller vessels looking to join in on the action.
The ship will then sailed up the Seddon Channel between Davis Islands and Harbour Island.
There, the Jose Gasparilla docked at the Convention Center and the captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla demanded the key to the City of Tampa from Mayor Jane Castor.
The pirates took the key and celebrate with a victory parade down Bayshore Boulevard — sharing their wealth of beads and booty along the way.
The Gasparilla parade has been a tradition in Tampa since 1904 when it was first hosted by the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. To date, it’s considered to be the nation’s third-largest parade behind Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, New York.
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