Tampa Bay’s Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a yearly celebration that focuses on the bay area’s rich pirate history. The name and foundation of Tampa’s traditional “Gasparilla” Carnival come from legendary pirate Jose Gaspar, “last of the Buccaneers,” who terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida during the late 18th and early 19th century. In 2014 “Gasparilla” just means boats, pirates, parades, merriment and more. Now that January is here, the city’s illustrious festival celebration is, once again, about to kick off. The Gasparilla season opens with an air invasion, a children’s parade and fireworks.
Here’s the complete details.
Children’s Gasparilla Parade & “Piratechnic” Fireworks
Saturday, January 18, 2014
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Children’s parade is an alcohol-free family day long event, celebrating the return of the Gasparilla Season to Tampa Bay.
Shuttle: A shuttle will operate one continuous shuttle route on January 18, 2014 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Cost is $5 per adult, children accompanied by an adult ride for free.
11 a.m. – Vendors and children’s activities open along Bayshore Blvd., from Bay to Bay to Watrous/Orleans Avenues.
11 a.m.–1 p.m. – Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Rodeo teaches kids bicycle safety. Kids will be fitted with a free, brand new bicycle helmet they can keep (while supplies last). There is a fun bike course which teaches skills that may one day save their lives.
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Gasparilla Preschooler’s Stroll will feature Tampa Bay’s youngest pirates. Children five and under have their own chance to strut their stuff along beautiful Bayshore Boulevard. Children are encouraged to dress as priates and decorate their wagons, bikes and strollers.
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Gasparilla Air Invasion featuring a precision parachute jump from the United States Special Operation Jump Team.
3:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Children’s Gasparilla Parade begins at Bay to Bay and Bayshore, proceeds north along Bayshore, and ends at Watrous/Orleans Avenues & Bayshore.
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – “Piratechnic” Extravaganza is the largest “Piratechnic” display of the year. It re-create the imaginary sea battle between the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa. This “battle”, has been waged annually since 1904, and the pirates have won every year! With the City defenseless, the scene is set for the colorful and festive Gasparilla Pirate Fest scheduled for Jan. 25. The fireworks display is a 23-minute show that is set to music and broadcast live on WTVT Channel 13.