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Pirates Invade Tampa During Gasparilla Festival

Photo Courtesy of Neal Nachman

Despite the chilly day, Tampa’s century-old pirate-palooza returned with a bang on Saturday during the Gasparilla Festival.

Pirates Invade Tampa During Gasparilla Festival
Photo Courtesy of Neal Nachman

The Gasparilla parade has been a tradition in Tampa since 1904. The theme and focal point of Gasparilla is a friendly “invasion” by mythical pirate Jose Gasper and his crew, who are portrayed by members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG).

Pirates Invade Tampa During Gasparilla Festival
Photo Courtesy of Neal Nachman

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.

Photo Courtesy of Neal Nachman

Two-time WWE Hall of Famer and Tampa resident Ric Flair served as the grand marshal of the 2023 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest over the weekend riding in a float and greeting fans.

Pirates Invade Tampa During Gasparilla Festival
Photo Courtesy of Neal Nachman

More than 100 plus floats, krewes and groups of dancers paraded down Bayshore Boulevard, flinging beads at the 300,000 or so swashbuckling spectators.  

Pirates Invade Tampa During Gasparilla Festival
Photo Courtesy of Neal Nachman

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