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See Gasparilla photos from every decade since the first invasion in 1904

A look back at the costumes, floats and festivities over the years.
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Published Jan. 25, 2019
Updated Jan. 25, 2020

On Saturday, pirates will once again storm downtown Tampa during the annual Gasparilla invasion. Hundreds of thousands will crowd the streets to participate in another day of bead-throwing and debauchery.

The city has been celebrating the legend of mystical pirate Jose Gaspar since the first Gasparilla in 1904. Photos from the past show the festivities have changed over the decades.

A note on the following images: While the krewes of the 21st century are more inclusive, Gasparilla was segregated by gender until the 1960s and by race until the 1990s. When efforts were made by local leaders and activists to integrate in 1991, the Krewe of Gasparilla canceled that year’s parade but allowed it in 1992. To learn more, read this article.

1900s

The first court of Gasparilla in 1904. [Times archives]
The first court of Gasparilla in 1904. [Times archives]
A decorated car was part of an early Gasparilla parade. [Times archives]
A decorated car was part of an early Gasparilla parade. [Times archives]
A photo of the Gasparilla king in 1905.
A photo of the Gasparilla king in 1905. [ Times (1905) ]

1910s

Jerome Waterman, first Lieutenant of Ye Mystic Krew of Gasparilla XI in 1917, stands by a cannon in Tampa's Plant Park.
Jerome Waterman, first Lieutenant of Ye Mystic Krew of Gasparilla XI in 1917, stands by a cannon in Tampa's Plant Park. [ Photo by the Burgert Brothers. Courtesy Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System ]
Captain's Dinner of Ye Mystic Krewe in 1915.
Captain's Dinner of Ye Mystic Krewe in 1915. [ Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System ]
Ye Royal Court of Gasparilla VIII King William Reynolds Beckwith, 32, and Queen Mary Cotter Lucas, 21, in February 1914.
Ye Royal Court of Gasparilla VIII King William Reynolds Beckwith, 32, and Queen Mary Cotter Lucas, 21, in February 1914. [ Photo by the Burgert Brothers. Courtesy Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System ]

1920s

Gasparilla XIV queen Lillie Wall Honacker in 1922.  [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
Gasparilla XIV queen Lillie Wall Honacker in 1922. [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
Gasparilla Pirate ship in 1920s. [Times archives]
Gasparilla Pirate ship in 1920s. [Times archives]
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Posters promoted Gasparilla in the 1920s. [Times archives]
Posters promoted Gasparilla in the 1920s. [Times archives] [ Times (1920s) ]

1930s

A group of pirates crowds around a cannon in 1939. [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
A group of pirates crowds around a cannon in 1939. [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
Pirates on a dragon Gasparilla float in 1936. [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
Pirates on a dragon Gasparilla float in 1936. [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
 [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
[Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]

1940s

Three children participate in the 1949 Gasparilla children's parade. [Photo courtesy of the State Library and Archives of Florida]
Three children participate in the 1949 Gasparilla children's parade. [Photo courtesy of the State Library and Archives of Florida] [ State Library and Archives ]
Young women on a parade float in the Gasparilla Carnival parade in 1947.
Young women on a parade float in the Gasparilla Carnival parade in 1947. [ Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System ]

1950s

Joanne Ross stands by a Gasparilla dragon float in 1951. She was known for her role as the Gasparilla Parade's Mystery Blonde during the 1950's and 60's as the Gasparilla Parade's Mystery Blond. [Photo provided by Joanne Ross | Times archives]
Joanne Ross stands by a Gasparilla dragon float in 1951. She was known for her role as the Gasparilla Parade's Mystery Blonde during the 1950's and 60's as the Gasparilla Parade's Mystery Blond. [Photo provided by Joanne Ross | Times archives]
Boats surround the Gasparilla ship heading toward the Platt Street Bridge in Hillsborough River. This photo was taken from Tampa General Hospital in 1959.
Boats surround the Gasparilla ship heading toward the Platt Street Bridge in Hillsborough River. This photo was taken from Tampa General Hospital in 1959. [ Photo by the Burgert Brothers. Courtesy Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System ]
[Courtesy of Merrill Friend | Times archives]
[Courtesy of Merrill Friend | Times archives]

1960s

A 1963 photo from the Gasparilla celebration. [Times archives]
A 1963 photo from the Gasparilla celebration. [Times archives] [ STAFF | St. Petersburg Times ]
The Maas Brothers' float in the 1963 Gasparilla parade. [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
The Maas Brothers' float in the 1963 Gasparilla parade. [Burgert Brothers | Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System]
Queen Jayma Davies Rides the De Soto Foat.
Queen Jayma Davies Rides the De Soto Foat. [ Times (1969) ]

1970s

A Tampa policeman gives an invader a ride. [Times archives]
A Tampa policeman gives an invader a ride. [Times archives] [ FRASER HALE | St. Petersburg Times ]
Doria Gomez, Elena DelRio and Linda Gomez pose in 1979 during the 75th anniversary of Gasparilla. [Steve Baird | Times archives]
Doria Gomez, Elena DelRio and Linda Gomez pose in 1979 during the 75th anniversary of Gasparilla. [Steve Baird | Times archives]
[Times archives]
[Times archives]

1980s

[Joe Walles | Times archives]
[Joe Walles | Times archives] [ JOE WALLES | St. Petersburg Times ]
[Times archives]
[Times archives]
Boats stream in during the 1986 Gasparilla Invasion. [Times archives]
Boats stream in during the 1986 Gasparilla Invasion. [Times archives]

1990s

The 1995 Gasparilla Pirate Invasion. [Times archives]
The 1995 Gasparilla Pirate Invasion. [Times archives] [ STEM, JIM | St. Petersburg Times ]
Jack Golly, left, entertains members of Ye Mystic Krew of Gasparilla during the 1995 invasion. [Jack Golly | Times archives]
Jack Golly, left, entertains members of Ye Mystic Krew of Gasparilla during the 1995 invasion. [Jack Golly | Times archives]
Jack Golly poses with the Jose Gasparilla. Golly lead the band aboard the ship during the annual Gasparilla Invasion from 1958 to 1999. This photo was taken during his last year participating in the invasion. [Times archives]
Jack Golly poses with the Jose Gasparilla. Golly lead the band aboard the ship during the annual Gasparilla Invasion from 1958 to 1999. This photo was taken during his last year participating in the invasion. [Times archives] [ JAY NOLAN | Tampa Bay Times ]
Pirates ride the crows nest of Jose Gasparilla before docking. [Jim Stem | Times archives]
Pirates ride the crows nest of Jose Gasparilla before docking. [Jim Stem | Times archives] [ STEM, JIM | St. Petersburg Times ]

2000s

Daniel Aegerter of Tampa hangs high on Feb. 5, 2000. [David Kadlubowski | Times archives]
Daniel Aegerter of Tampa hangs high on Feb. 5, 2000. [David Kadlubowski | Times archives] [ DAVID KADLUBOWSKI | Tampa Bay Times ]
The Jose Gasparilla makes its way up the channel to the Tampa Convention center to kick off the 2003 Gasparilla festivities. [John W Parker | Times archives]
The Jose Gasparilla makes its way up the channel to the Tampa Convention center to kick off the 2003 Gasparilla festivities. [John W Parker | Times archives] [ JOHN W PARKER | Tampa Bay Times ]
Blake High School Yellow Jackets Marching Band take part in the 2001 Gasparilla Parade.[Times archives]
Blake High School Yellow Jackets Marching Band take part in the 2001 Gasparilla Parade.[Times archives] [ DAVE GEIGER | Tampa Bay Times ]
A crow's nest view of a pirate Blake Casper climbing the rigging on the Jose Gasparilla. [John Pendygraft | Times Staff]
A crow's nest view of a pirate Blake Casper climbing the rigging on the Jose Gasparilla. [John Pendygraft | Times Staff] [ PENDYGRAFT, JOHN | St. Petersburg Times ]

2010s

[Jim Reed | Times archives]
[Jim Reed | Times archives] [ | Tampa Bay Times ]
Miso the Pug attends the 2016 Gasparilla Pirate Invasion and Parade in Tampa. [Luis Santana | Times]
Miso the Pug attends the 2016 Gasparilla Pirate Invasion and Parade in Tampa. [Luis Santana | Times] [ LUIS SANTANA I TImes ]
Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla members crowd around the NHL Stanley Cup aboard the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship at the end of the Ballast Point Park pier on Jan. 27, 2018. The ship carried the cup for the annual invasion. [Loren Elliot | Times]
Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla members crowd around the NHL Stanley Cup aboard the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship at the end of the Ballast Point Park pier on Jan. 27, 2018. The ship carried the cup for the annual invasion. [Loren Elliot | Times] [ ELLIOTT, LOREN | Elliott, Loren ]

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