Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa's pirates and beads serve up a different kind of Christmas parade


Pirates have taken over Christmas.

Donning red and white Santa hats, they marched through downtown streets Saturday alongside the more traditional holiday characters as Christmas carols blasted from a pirate ship float.

In another nod to the annual Gasparilla parade, beads flew from the floats at the city's annual Santa Fest and parade. In the spirit of the season, the booty was red and green.

Spectators, young and old, raised their hands in anticipation.

This is Christmas, Tampa-style.

Ian Vokoun, 9, of Tampa had a pile of beads around his neck just minutes after the parade began. And he was looking forward to more, he said.

Ducking out of the way as an assault of necklaces headed her way, Lisa Todd of Tampa spent almost as much time dodging beads as she did watching the parade. She was on the lookout for something a little more sweet for her toddler, Julia.

"Her favorite part is the lollipops," Todd said.

With a piece of candy in her mouth and numerous beads around her neck, Alison Self, 9, of Ruskin declared Saturday's parade a success.

"It's really cool seeing all the people having fun and happy," she said.

It wasn't just the children who enjoyed themselves. Ron and Judy Anderson, 70 and 62, of Tampa appreciated the mild temperature.

Originally from Chicago, the couple used to have to bundle up for Christmas parades. This year, they couldn't help but mention the lack of snow and frost to family members up north.

"I emailed my family this morning and told them this would be my first time going to a Christmas parade in a short-sleeved shirt," Judy Anderson said.

Once Santa made his debut in a red convertible — Florida's version of a sleigh — it was on to Santa Fest at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, where children tossed aside beads for bounce houses and ice skating.

Live music, including a performance by the Tampa Oratorio Singers, filled the air. Games and crafts were set up for children, and the line for a photo with Santa Claus wound around the park.

At the craft stations, Jasmine Holmes, 3, made a headband with reindeer antlers and a snowflake ornament.

"She'll remember this," said Holmes' grandmother Gloria Dixon, 54. "There are lots of hands-on things for her to do and this gives people a place to go as a family."

As soon as Jasmine got her antlers on, the two were off to visit Santa Claus.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at or (813) 661-2442.

Tampa's pirates and beads serve up a different kind of Christmas parade 12/03/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 6:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas receives two charter school applications


    Following a two-year dry spell, the Pinellas County school district has received two new applications to open charter schools in St. Petersburg.

    Windsor Preparatory Academy in St. Petersburg could be home to Pinellas Academy of Math and Science's St. Petersburg campus. The Pinellas County school district received a charter school application from that school's leadership this fall to open in 2018.
  2. Southern Heritage group draws fire for posting personal information of Confederate statue opponents


    TAMPA — Curtiss Wilson is an 89-year-old Tampa resident who fought in the civil rights movement.

    A report by Save Southern Heritage Florida includes the "affiliation" of more than 100 people who spoke at the July 19 commission meeting in favor of removing  the Confederate monument from in front of the old county courthouse in Tampa. People on the list say the report was meant to intimidate and harrass opponents of the monument. Save Southern Heritage director Doug Guetzloe said the report is "opposition research" meant to to inform elected officials about who was speaking on the issue.
[Save Southern Heritage Florida]
  3. Gen. Votel interview: 'A bit of a stalemate' in Afghanistan, but a chance to optimize gains there


    In developing the plan for the war in Afghanistan that he announced Monday night, President Donald Trump consulted with advisers including his military leaders throyugh their chain of command.

  4. Water Street Tampa unveils illustrations showing downtown's transformation


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  5. Bill Nelson shares Rick Scott's cautious stance on Confederate monuments


    On the issue of Confederate monuments, Sen. Bill Nelson is taking the cautious route of Gov. Rick Scott.