Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa mayor holds tight to city key as Gasparilla pirates invade

TAMPA — Even as he was held hostage by a group of grown men dressed as pirates, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn refused Tuesday to hand over the key to the city.

"Who let these lowlife pirates into the city?" Buckhorn asked, as the band of rascals wearing plastic bead necklaces escorted him to a stage in Lykes Gaslight Square Park. "You will not get the key!"

Members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla pulled into town on their pirate ship just after noon Tuesday with the sound of cannons booming, hurling beads at men and women in business suits, who craned their necks as the deafening ruckus spilled onto Tampa Street.

They demanded to see the mayor. When at first he did not appear, he was called a coward.

But soon enough, Buckhorn was there, trading insults with the trash-talking scoundrels.

"Do we want to give up the key to the city to this band of ne'er-do-wells?" the mayor asked a crowd of camera-toting civilians. Then came the surprise and resounding answer: "Yeah!"

"I know you handled the RNC," one pirate said, "and I know you handled the Super Bowl and now Bollywood. But you can't handle Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla."

Still the mayor was defiant.

"We will see you on Saturday and you will not get this key," he said.

At that, the pirates walked off and headed to lunch.

If you go

Saturday in Tampa:

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Gasparilla invasion. The Jose Gasparilla sets sail at the south end of Hillsborough Bay about 11:30 a.m., sails north to Seddon Channel, docks at the Tampa Convention Center about 1 p.m. Free.

2 p.m. to about 5:30 p.m.: Parade of pirates begins at Bay to Bay and Bayshore boulevards; continues along Bayshore to Brorein Street; turns east on Brorein and then north on Ashley Drive; ends at Ashley and Cass Street. Free viewing and reserved seating. Details at

Tampa mayor holds tight to city key as Gasparilla pirates invade 01/21/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 8:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Romano: Why flood insurance might not be enough to save your home

    Local Government

    Irma is gone, and Maria never came.

    And yet this is as good a time as any to worry.

  2. Tampa's streetcar system looks to expand north through downtown


    TAMPA — The TECO Line Streetcar system that runs from Ybor City to the Channel District could be extended north through downtown all the way to Tampa Heights, according to the latest update of a $1.7 million study aimed at expanding the streetcar system.

    Riders take in the last few stops of the streetcar route in Ybor City during the tenth anniversary celebration of the TECO line streetcar system in Tampa in 2012. Now officials are looking for ways to expand the service north through downtown to Tampa Heights. [EVE EDELHEIT  |  Times]
  3. Interview: Steve Martin, Martin Short bringing 'best version' of their show back to St. Petersburg


    Hot celebrity-spotting tip: Stop by the Salvador Dalí Museum on Jan. 19. You might catch a glimpse of Steve Martin.

    Steve Martin, left, and Martin Short will bring “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life” to the Mahaffey Theater on Jan. 19.
  4. Report: Well-being of black and Hispanic children continues to lag in Florida


    Despite making progress in health care access and parental employment, Florida has not improved its poverty rate for children over the past five years, a newly released national report shows.

    Students line up in the courtyard at predominantly black Lakewood Elementary in St. Petersburg. A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that Florida ranks 28th in the nation on an index that measures the well-being of black children. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Second lady Karen Pence to speak at Tampa art therapy summit


    TAMPA — Second lady Karen Pence will visit The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday to address advocates of art therapy programs for military members and families.