Hundreds of boaters hit the water Saturday in place of Gasparilla parade

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Gasparilla Pirate Fest was canceled this year due to the pandemic, and Saturday was supposed to be the rescheduled date.

While there was no official Gasparilla parade, that didn’t stop hundreds of boaters from celebrating the event unofficially, and now, there’s controversy surrounding the event.

This year’s Gasparilla Parade of Pirates and the traditional pirate invasion were canceled by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla because of concerns over the pandemic. 

Jake Hoffman with the Tampa Bay Young Republicans is one of the organizers of Saturday’s event dubbed, “Gasby Anyway.”

Hoffman also believes Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla should have never canceled, considering there was a parade for both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“There’s no excuse why we can’t do events like this, especially boating events,” Hoffman said. “I like to think we’ve tried to save Gasparilla as much as we can.”

A similar event, called “Trumparilla,” by another group took place at the same time and in the same waters.

However, the people who organize the real Gasparilla say they are in no way involved and are even threatening legal action.

Ye Mystic Krewe released a statement Friday saying:

“As referenced in our press release dated February 16, 2021, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla made the difficult decision to cancel both Children’s Gasparilla and Gasparilla Pirate Fest. Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and EventFest do not endorse and are in no way affiliated with the Tampa Young Republican’s boat parade. We have engaged with their event organizers multiple times and requested that any reference to Gasparilla or an Invasion be removed. Any use of the Gasparilla name in this manner is unauthorized and improper, and may be subject to legal action.”

“In my opinion the word Gasparilla is like using the word Christmas or Thanksgiving in Tampa and that should be public domain,” Hoffman said. “We’ve done everything we can to remove their trademark, the boat, the invasion, the only part I’m stuck on is them not wanting us to use the word Gasparilla.”

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