On Saturday, while you're throwing back your fourth mimosa in full pirate regalia — or staying far, far away from Bayshore Boulevard — Tampa Bay Times journalists will be out covering Gasparilla.
We do it every year, stone-cold sober in a sea of drunks. Times columnist Dan Ruth calls it a "pain in the kiester." I know at least one photographer would agree; he was, after all, once face-mauled by a woman who'd had one too many.
But get a bunch of us together, swapping tales about the most interesting stories we've covered, and Gasparilla almost always comes up. They're not just about beads and booty. They're about the evolution of this city we love.
We were there when Ye Mystic Krewe cancelled Gasparilla rather than admit a black member. And we were there when the parade opened up to a more diverse crowd. We were there when drunken chaos reigned, and when police cracked down.
We assembled a group of veteran journalists who have spent years, sometimes decades, covering Gasparilla for the Times and Tampa Tribune, and created a video oral history of journalism and Tampa's favorite party.