Tampa is abuzz with Gasparilla season, as pirates gear up to seize the city, drawing excited visitors from all corners of Florida eager to partake in this lively celebration. Below, discover all the festivities you won’t want to miss throughout the month of January.
Saturday, January 20: Children’s Gasparilla
The Gasparilla Children’s Celebration spans from 12 pm to 7:30 pm. Here’s a brief overview of the schedule:
12pm-2pm: Bicycle + Pedestrian Safety Rodeo
12pm-4pm: Gasparilla Air Invasion
2pm-3pm: Gasparilla Pre-schoolers Stroll (Register for the event)
4pm-6:15pm: Children’s Gasparilla Parade (Click here to reserve seats)
6:15pm-7pm: Nightime Gasparilla Air Invasion
7pm-7:30pm: Pirate-technic Experience
Parking for these festivities is very limited. You can see a full parade map, and parking guide here.
Commence the festivities with a Bicycle and Safety Rodeo on Saturday, January 20. Taking place along Bayshore Boulevard, between Rome and Dakota Avenue, the Bicycle Rodeo is open to all interested in mastering safe cycling with traffic. Volunteers will outfit young pirates with complimentary bicycle helmets (available while supplies last). The little mates can then navigate a lively course using provided bicycles, learning crucial skills that may prove beneficial in the future.
Experience the Gasparilla Preschooler’s Stroll, proudly presented by Primrose Schools, showcasing Tampa Bay’s youngest pirates. In this cherished Gasparilla tradition, children aged five and under flaunt their style along the picturesque Bayshore Boulevard, adorned in decorated wagons, bicycles, strollers, and their most charming pirate attire. The stroll commences at Howard Avenue and concludes at Rome Avenue.
Experience an air invasion during the day and at night
On January 20, spectators are in for a treat with the Gasparilla Air Invasion. As twilight descends, the skies will dazzle with a captivating exhibition featuring aerobatic skywriters, formation flights, and a precision parachute jump, gracefully touching down at DeSoto and Bayshore Boulevard (one block North of Howard and Bayshore).
A week before the official Pirate Fest, the family-friendly atmosphere continues with the Children’s Parade gracing Bayshore Boulevard. The Ashley Children’s Gasparilla, presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay, ensures an alcohol-free environment, offering a delightful and memorable experience for all young mates. The adventure kicks off from Bay to Bay Boulevard & Bayshore Boulevard, proceeding north along Bayshore for 1.5 miles before concluding at Edison Avenue.
Witness the enchanting Jose Gasparilla II as it illuminates the night sky with the Children’s Gasparilla “Piratechnic” Finale. Daredevil stunt planes take the lead, showcasing a thrilling fireworks flight, followed by a mesmerizing display of firework shells choreographed by the Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.
Saturday, January 27: The Pirate Invasion
Prepare for the official Gasparilla Pirate Festival scheduled for Saturday, January 27. The festivities kick off at 9 am and continue until 10 pm, featuring brunches, parades, concerts, and a myriad of lively celebrations.
10am-1pm: Gasparilla Invasion Brunch at Tampa Convention Center (purchase tickets)
11:30am-1pm: Gasparilla Invasion
2pm-5:30pm: Gasparilla Parade of Pirates
10am-8pm: Gasparilla Pirate Fest Stage Performances
You can see a full breakdown of events, and find parking info on the official Gasparilla website.
“Land Ho!” Brace yourself for the legendary arrival of Jose Gasparilla on Saturday, January 27, as he sails into the Tampa Convention Center basin. Accompanied by a magnificent flotilla of hundreds of vessels and the notorious pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, the atmosphere is charged with anticipation.
Experience the exhilaration as the ship docks precisely at 1 pm, and the Captain meets the Mayor of Tampa for his dramatic final demand—the key to the city. Don’t miss this thrilling spectacle that promises to be a highlight of the festivities.
Experience live music all day on the Tampa waterfront
The festive pirates have successfully taken over the city with a victorious invasion, and the time for celebration has arrived. Join the Krewe as they joyously march down Bayshore Blvd in a triumphant victory parade, embarking on a 4.5-mile journey along the scenic Hillsborough Bay through downtown Tampa.
Engage in lively dance to the tunes of live music presented by Bud Light and 101 N. Meridian. The Gasparilla Pirate Fest boasts stages with live entertainment both before and after the parade at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (at Ashley Drive and Twiggs Street) and MacDill Park (at Ashley Drive and Whiting Street).