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. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman


    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  3. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light


    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  4. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling


    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. PTA treasurer at Pinellas school accused of stealing $5,000


    The treasurer of the Parent-Teacher Association at a Pinellas County elementary school faces a felony fraud charge after she was accused of stealing from the organization to pay her credit card and phone bills.

    Lisa McMenamin, 50, of Tarpon Springs, is facing felony charges of scheming to defraud the Brooker Creek Elementary Parent-Teacher Association, where she served as treasurer. She is accused of stealing $5,000 to pay credit card and phone bills. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]