TAMPA (WFLA) – Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is asking for a big change for next year’s Gasparilla invasion.
The mayor is calling for a “bead free bay” and to accomplish this she’s asking all Gasparilla Krewes to stop throwing beads into the water during the invasion flotilla.
“Our Bay really defines us as a community, our river, and our Bay and it is up to us to maintain the pristine character of it for all of the marine life,” said Castor.
During an afternoon news conference along Bayshore Boulevard, Castor was surrounded by Pirates from Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, members of the Knights of St. Yago and members of the Rough Riders who have all signed on to the mayors “bead free bay” program.
“We are based on Teddy Roosevelt, he was one of our first environmentalists and we care very much about the environment. The Rough Riders are going to bring the beads because we bring the best and the most beads, but we’re not going to throw them in the water and we are going to encourage people to not do that,” said Darren McClain who is the current President of the Rough Riders.
Richard Chapman is the Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and has participated in the event for many years. Chapman says his pirates are on board with the effort and points out beads are only a recent addition to the annual celebration.
“Beads are something that came up, probably in the mid-’80s and before that, we didn’t have beads at this parade and we did quite well without having them. We’ll still have beads on the parade route, we just need to keep them away from our great bay,” said Chapman.
Mayor Castor says beads will still be a part of the parade, she is just asking that everyone stop throwing them into the water to protect the bay and rivers of Tampa.