One of Tampa's favorite public figures has been chosen to lead one of Tampa's favorite events.
Former Bucs player Mike Alstott on Wednesday was named grand marshal of the 2010 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest. Parade officials said Alstott's focus on family and community made him an ideal choice for this year's parade, which promises to be tamer than past years.
Alstott's appointment is a rarity for the parade and the first in years. The last time Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla named a grand marshal was about 15 years ago when Bob Martinez was governor. Other grand marshals have included Roy Rogers, Woody Woodpecker and Dennis the Menace, characters who had some connection to the party at the time.
The 106-year-old party, with its Gasparilla Invasion and parade, returns to Tampa on Jan. 30, about a week earlier than last year. The Seminole Hard Rock recently signed on as its signature sponsor for the next three years. The Gasparilla Children's Parade is Jan. 23.