Pirates take over Tampa with Gasparilla festivities starting this weekend

Parades, JazzFest, more in store for attendees


TAMPA, Fla. – Make way, mateys. Pirates are about to invade Tampa. 

Almost every year since 1904, Tampa has held its Gasparilla Pirate Festival full of parades and events offering fun for everyone. 

Each year, people flock to the streets of Tampa for pirates, beads, canons and more. 

Here’s the list of the most popular events happening soon, starting with the Children’s Parade this weekend.

Children’s Parade – A family friendly parade where pirates take over the streets of Tampa in an alcohol-free setting. 

  • Jan. 19, 3 to 6 p.m. 
  • Begins at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore and goes north to Edison Avenue.
  • Prior to the parade, there will be an Air Invasion and Socom Day Jump from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. featuring the United States Special Operation Jump Team – The Para-Commandos.
  • Just after the parade ends, there will be another Air Invasion and Socom Night Jump at 6:15 p.m. that features a precision parachute jump from the United States Special Operation Jump Team – The Para-Commandos.
  • Capping off the night’s activities is the “Piratechnics” show from 7 to 7:30 p.m. The show re-creates imaginary from the sea battle between pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa. The pirates have won every year since 1904. 

Gasparilla Invasion – This event kicks off the Gasparilla Pirate Fest weekend when marauding buccaneers return to invade the city of Tampa from the waters of Hillsborough Bay. This annual reenactment features the world’s only fully-rigged pirate ship, Jose Gasparilla, that appears with many other pleasure crafts to defend the city.

  • Jan. 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Starts at the South end of Hillsborough Bay and docks at Tampa Convention Center at 1 p.m. 

Parade of Pirates – This is the official day parade of the Gasparilla activities, where booming canons and boisterous buccaneers take over the streets of Tampa. People flock to get their fair share of glittery beads and doubloons. 

  • Jan. 26, 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  
  • Its 4.5-mile parade route begins at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard. It travels east on Brorein Street, then north on Ashley Drive and ends at Cass Street and Ashely Drive.

Gasparilla JazzFest – This is a new event that’s been added to the Gasparilla lineup. It’s family friendly and features smooth jazz artist NAJEE as the headliner.

  • Jan. 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Knights of Sant 'Yago Illuminated Knight Parade – This parade is known to locals as the Night Parade. Attendees flock to the streets of Ybor City wearing costumes to watch illuminated floats, celebrity guests and marching bands make their way through town. 

  • Feb. 9, 7 p.m. 
  • Seventh Avenue, Ybor City.

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