Once again, Mayor Jane Castor will surrender the key to the city of Tampa on Jan. 29 to a band of marauding pirates aboard the Jose Gasparilla, a replica pirate ship used in this faux invasion.
The event celebrates the legend of Jose Gaspar (nicknamed Gasparilla), a mythical Spanish pirate captain who supposedly operated in southwest Florida. It was founded in 1904 by the all-male, all-white Krewe of Gasparilla, made up of Tampa’s leading founders. That group bears little resemblance to today’s roster of more than 50 diverse krewes. It took nearly 90 years, but the parade became more inclusive starting in 1992 and now includes Latin krewes, female krewes, Black krewes and others based on various ethnic, cultural and historical themes or charity causes
Hundreds of thousands of people will pack the streets of downtown Tampa for Saturday’s alcohol-free Children’s Gasparilla Parade, and even more are expected for the big Gasparilla parade Jan. 29. There are also related parties, exhibits and other debauchery.
That’s because Gasparilla season involves much more than the big parades. The following is a list of Tampa Bay area Gasparilla-related events to help you get into the mood to pillage and plunder.
Official Gasparilla events
Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza: The alcohol-free, family-friendly Gasparilla event includes a bicycle and pedestrian safety rodeo (11 a.m.-1 p.m.), air invasion (noon-3:15 p.m.), preschoolers stroll (1-2 p.m.), parade (3:30-6 p.m.), nighttime air invasion (6-6:30 p.m.) and a “Piratechnic Finale” (6:30-7 p.m.). Free. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday. Bayshore Boulevard, downtown Tampa. 813-251-3378.
Gasparilla Pirate Fest: Pirate Fest features numerous stages with live entertainment pre- and post-parade in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (Ashley and Twiggs) and MacDill Park (Ashley and Whiting). The entertainment lineup for 2022 has not yet been announced. Free. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Jan. 29. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. 813-251-3378.
EventFest-Gasparilla Brunch 2022: Feast on a family-style brunch as you watch the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla invade Tampa aboard the Jose Gasparilla. $98, $78 children. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 29. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St. 813-251-8844.
Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of Pirates: The fully rigged Jose Gasparilla emerges at the south end of Hillsborough Bay followed by hundreds, if not thousands, of boats. The Gasparilla Flotilla then makes its way across Hillsborough Bay and into Seddon Channel (between Davis Islands and Harbour Island). 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 29. 1315 Severn Ave., Tampa. From 2-6 p.m. Jan. 29, from the Gasparilla Parade start point at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard, the parade of more than 140 units winds its way down Bayshore Boulevard. It continues along Bayshore to Brorein Street, turns east on Brorein, then heads north on Ashley Drive. The parade ends at Cass Street and Ashley Drive.
Planning your weekend?
Subscribe to our free Top 5 things to do newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Knights of Sant’ Yago Night Parade: This parade through Ybor’s historic district is similar in nature to the big parade on Bayshore, with loads of beads and revelry, but it takes place at night and is illuminated. Free. 6 p.m. Feb. 12. E Seventh Avenue and N 14th Street, downtown Ybor City, Tampa.
Gasparilla Outbound Voyage: Mayor Jane Castor reclaims the key to the city of Tampa and kicks out the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla pirates. The Jose Gasparilla sails back out to sea to cannon fire and live music. Free. 2-10 p.m. Feb. 26. Sparkman Wharf, 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa. 813-251-3378.
Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition: This exhibit at the Henry B. Plant Museum gets you caught up on more than 110 years of Gasparilla’s parades, pirate invasions, coronation balls and more. Gaze at vintage photographs from 1904 to the present, see memorabilia including invitations and pirate tokens and marvel at gowns worn by Gasparilla queens and members of their courts. $10, $8 seniors, $7 students, $5 ages 4-12. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Remains on display through Feb. 27. Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. 813-254-1891.
Gasparilla Day Workshop: Kids make and take home a pirate-themed custom Lego mini-figure. $25. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Bricks 4 Kidz, 3713 W Dale Ave., Tampa. 813-545-4282.
Sensory Gasparilla: Kids can create pirate-themed arts and crafts and participate in other activities in a sensory friendly, calm environment without crowds. $20. Noon-2 p.m. Saturday. Sensory Center, 939 Candlelight Blvd., Brooksville. 352-593-0993.
SOHO Gasparilla Bar Crawl: Dress like a pirate and join the Real Estate Investment Council for a three-stop bar crawl with drinks and food at each stop. Stops include Yard and Ale, the Corner Bar and Dubliner. $60, $45 members. 5:30-8 p.m. Jan. 27. Yard and Ale, 406 S Howard Ave., Tampa. 813-205-2138.
Shipwrecked: The pirate-themed Tampa Bay Music and Heritage Festival features performances by Nora En Pure and Green Velvet with special guests Baauer, Chee, Durante, Guppi, Franky Rizardo, Huxley Anne, Marvel Years and Tsu Nami. 18 and older. $25-$80. 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Jan. 28-29. Cuban Club, 2010 N Avenida Republica de Cuba, Tampa. 813-248-2954.
Gasparilla Dance: Dress like a pirate and bring an appetizer to share for a Gasparilla-themed dance with music by DJ-singer John Ricky. $12. 6:30-10:30 p.m. Jan. 28. Tampa Bay Dance Club, 5601 Hanley Road, Tampa. 813-390-7160.
Bloom on Franklin: Pre-Gasparilla Bash: This event, based on love, unity and respect, is a ceremonial art walk that celebrates creativity through visual and performing arts along the Franklin Street Corridor in downtown Tampa. Free. 7-11 p.m. Jan. 28. Mergeculture, 2744 N Florida Ave., Tampa. 813-492-5656.
Gasparilla Pre-Invasion Party: Join the Rough Riders to warm up for the big Gasparilla celebration with light appetizers, drink specials and dancing to music by Rhino Cubes. $20. 7-11 p.m. Jan. 28. The Sail, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. 813-274-8420.
Beautiful Anarchy: Pre-Gasparilla Bash: Franki Markstone hosts a pirate-themed pre-Gasparilla burlesque show with performances by Dahlia Dupre (burlesque), Maria Estrada des Vignes (hoops), Oriana (belly dance), Sheba Queen of the Night (burlesque) and the Pippsy Pinwheel Sideshow and live music by Sam Williams. $20-$120. 7-10 p.m. Jan. 28. 82 Degrees West Distilling, 6430 N Florida Ave., Tampa. 813-820-0944.
Gasparilla Silent Party: Grab a pair of headphones and join other scallywags to silently dance to music by three DJs. Pirate costumes are encouraged. $10. 9 p.m. Jan. 28. American Social Bar and Kitchen, 601 S Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa. 813-605-3333.
ARRRGGGHHH You Hungry and Thirsty? There will be mimosas, beer and wine for thirsty pirates, plus pirate-themed foods in EATS. Free. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Jan. 29. Publix Greenwise Water Street, 555 Channelside Drive, Tampa. 813-221-4121.
Alpharilla: Grab your shipmates for the biggest Black Gasparilla party in Tampa with live music, food, games and prizes. $30-$100. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 29. Hooch and Hive, 1001 W Cass St., Tampa. 813-251-1234.
Gasparilla Invasion Party: Join the Junior League of Tampa to party with food, drinks, entertainment and a view of the invasion. Benefits Junior League of Tampa community projects and programs. 21 and older. $120. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 29. Junior League of Tampa Headquarters, 87 Columbia Drive. 813-254-1734.
Gasparilla Brunch: Sip on all-you-can-drink mimosas as you enjoy a brunch buffet. $66. 9 a.m.-noon Jan. 29. District Tavern, 116 N 12th St., Tampa. 813-252-3444.
Gasparilla Brunch: The Tampa Bay Alumni Chapter holds a pre-parade brunch. $35-$75. 10 a.m.-noon Jan. 29. University of Tampa Plant Hall, 374 UT University Drive. 813-253-3333.
Gasparilla Extravaganza: Get a front-row seat to view of the pirate invasion with cannons firing at the 12th annual extravaganza with food, open bar, live music, cigar rollers and a private room dedicated to children’s activities. $35-$10,000. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 29. The Westin Tampa Waterside, 725 S Harbour Island Blvd. 813-229-5000.
Gasparilla Shuttle: Climb aboard the Brew Bus for safe round trip transportation to and from the parade. Board the bus for a ride to the Winn-Dixie on Swann Avenue. The parade route is a 15-minute walk from the drop off point. Choose from a 10 a.m., 11 a.m. or noon pick up time. Return times are 4:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. Ticket includes transportation, a voucher for a free 6-pack of Brew Bus Brewing or Florida Avenue Brewing Co. beer at Winn-Dixie and a drawstring cooler to hold your parade booty. $40. 10 a.m. Jan. 29. World of Beer, 5311 Avion Park Drive, Tampa. 813-930-5499.
Gasparilla Invasion Cruise: Board the 72-foot Bay Spirit II catamaran to travel across Hillsborough Bay to meet the Jose Gasparilla at Ballast Point and join the flotilla. The 2.5-hour cruise includes brunch, snacks, deluxe open bar and DJ dancing. Pirate costumes are encouraged. 21 and older. $175. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 29. Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. 813-273-4000.
Gasparilla Invasion Brunch: Feast on a brunch buffet as you enjoy a view of the invasion from a second-story balcony overlooking Garrison Channel. Includes an open bar and DJ dancing. Limited seating (first-come, first-served). $150-$250. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 29. American Social Bar and Kitchen, 601 S Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa. 813-605-3333.
Gasparilla Invasion Cruise: Reserve a table indoors or outdoors to be part of the invasion on this brunch cruise with two alcoholic drinks (21 and older only) and DJ dancing. Tip: Port side seating is best and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. $179.95, $129.95 ages 2-12, 1 and younger free. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29. Yacht StarShip, 603 Channelside Drive, Tampa. 813-223-7999.
Treasure Cove: Gasparilla Pirate Fest: Head to the Bud Light Seltzer Treasure Cove for music by DJ Ekin, free seltzer and hard soda samplings, surprise acts and parade viewing from a fenced park with portable bathrooms. Reservation required through Eventbrite. Free. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Jan. 29. Treasure Cove, 200 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa.
Gasparilla Parade Party: Coyote Ugly parties pirate style with dancing to music by DJs Tex Flex and D3Z, drink and shot specials and games. No cover (food/drink additional). Noon-3 a.m. Jan. 29. Coyote Ugly, 1722 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. 813-242-8856.
Gasparilla After Party: After the parade, move to D-10 for a party with open bar, unlimited food, DJ dancing and games. Benefits Starting Right Now. $30-$50. 6 p.m.-midnight Jan. 29. The D-10 Society, 114 S Westland Ave., Tampa. 731-468-6310.
Gasparilla Party: Dress like a pirate or a wench and sip on a free drink as you hoist the sail for this party with food, raffles and contests. No cover. 7-11 p.m. Jan. 29. AMVETS Post 9, 14540 Black Lake Road, Odessa. 813-920-9023.
Gasparilla Cleanup: Grab a trash bag, put on some gloves and join Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to clean up beads and other debris left behind on the parade route. Free. 7:30-11 a.m. Jan. 30. All along the parade route, downtown Tampa. 813-221-8733.
After Gasparilla Meal: Anyone needy, living on the streets, or just in need of a healthy meal can go to Trinity Cafe, a full service restaurant, for a free meal. Free. 8:30 a.m. Jan. 30. Trinity Cafe, 2801 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. 813-865-4822.
Gasparilla Knight Parade Rock Show: Gaspar’s Grotto celebrates the Knight Parade with an ‘80s rock tribute show featuring live music by the Scream Machine Band. No cover (food/drink additional). 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Feb. 12. Gaspar’s Grotto, 1805 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. 813-248-5900.
Gasparilla Music Festival 2022: More than 40 bands perform genres ranging from rock to R&B across four stages with top national headliners. The festival also showcases some of Tampa Bay’s best local musicians and offers street food from Tampa area restaurants. $45-$300, 12 and younger free. 5-11:30 p.m. Feb. 25, 1-11:30 p.m. Feb. 26-27. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa. 813-708-8423.
Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic: A weekend of racing in the streets of Tampa features a 15K run (6:45 a.m. Saturday), a 5K run (9:15 a.m. Saturday) and a half marathon (6 p.m. Sunday). $30-$135. 6:45 a.m. Feb. 26, 6 a.m. Feb. 27. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. 813-254-7866.
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts: One of the country’s most popular juried art shows is set to award approximately $87,000 in prize money. Renowned artist and Tampa Bay native Janet Echelman will jury the 2022 show. Both original and limited edition works will be available for purchase from more than 250 participating artists around the U.S. Also includes live entertainment, food vendors and interactive exhibits. Free. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. March 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 6. Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, 1001 N Blvd., Tampa. 813-876-1747.