A history of Gasparilla

Published Feb. 8, 2004|Updated Aug. 27, 2005

May 4, 1904: Louise Frances Dodge, society editor for the Tampa Tribune, wants to liven up the May Festival. Federal bureaucrat George W. Hardee suggests incorporating the story of pirate Jose Gaspar. The parade has Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla riding on horseback and Gasparilla is born.

1907-1909: There are no parades during this time, supposedly due to lack of interest.

1911: The first "invasion" by water, rather than horseback.

1918-1919: Gasparilla suspended because of World War I.

1936: Ye Mystic Krewe buys its first boat, the Jose Gaspar.

1942-1946: Gasparilla canceled because of World War II.

1961: The Gasparilla Cookbook is published.

1976: The parade moves to its current location along Bayshore Boulevard because the newly constructed Crosstown Expressway interferes with the old parade route.

1988: The parade is televised for The Today Show and moves to Saturday to help boost attendance.

1991: Organizers cancel the parade, scheduled for the day before Super Bowl XXV, rather than succumb to pressure to integrate. The city steps in with a parade named Bamboleo, but turnout is poor.

1992: Gasparilla returns with four black members added to the Krewe, and expands to include other organizations.

2001: The parade is held the day before Super Bowl XXXV and has its highest attendance ever, with about 750,000 people attending.

2004: The 100th anniversary Gasparilla parade rolls down Bayshore Boulevard, with 40 diverse krewes, corporate sponsors and hundreds of thousands of spectators.

_ Compiled by Times researcher Cathy Wos. Information from Times files, the Tampa Tribune and the Tampa Times was used.