TAMPA — Pirate festivities will last a bit longer for pint-sized mates and their parents this year.
Saturday's alcohol-free Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza runs from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., offering street vendors and children's activities before and after the annual two-hour parade along South Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard.
To keep the wee pirates entertained after the parade passes and until the fireworks ignite at dark, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla has commissioned an audio-video blast on the pirate ship, Jose Gasparilla.
Typically, there has been a lull in activity between the end of the afternoon parade and the beginning of the fireworks. A sound-and-light show will fill that gap, encouraging families to stick around through nightfall.
"The ship will transform and many forgotten secrets will be revealed to those brave enough to stay and stand their ground," executive officer Don Barnes said.
Throughout the afternoon, he said, the ship sails back and forth, "with a great flurry of cannon fire." At dusk, about 6 p.m., it will moor, and Capt. Phil Carroll will address the crowd around DeSoto Avenue.
He will "remind the folks that an invasion is coming if they don't surrender." The ship will come to life with music and lights in a three- to five-minute presentation on a transparent screen between the masts before the traditional pyrotechnics display.
On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, a similar sound and light broadcast will be repeated nightly at 7, Barnes said.