After canceling Tampa’s signature event this year over COVID-19 concerns, the Gasparilla parades will sail again in January. Advance tickets go on sale this week.
And the parades will bring special booty in honor of the 200th anniversary of the death of the mythical pirate, Jose Gaspar, and of Tampa’s winning sports teams.
Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, which has organized the event since 1904, decided it was “in our community’s best interest” to cancel the 2021 parade of pirates that draws some 300,000 people. They mob downtown Tampa to catch beads and baubles from more than 120 floats, krewes and marching bands that step off from the Tampa Convention Center and make their way down Bayshore Boulevard.
“We are tan, rested and ready to go,” said Peter Lackman, a Tampa accountant and captain of Ye Mystic Krewe. They are planning a raucous day of a fake pirate invasion — in which they capture the key to the city and parade through downtown.
The Krewe is planning special “Champa Bay” beads that will be new this year, Lackman said.
Gaspar, who is typically represented as a skeleton with blade in his mouth, will be on a medallion with the Lombardi Trophy from the Super Bowl in one hand and the NHL’s Stanley Cup in the other, Lackman said. There also will be JG200 beads that have a scroll of paper telling the story of the pirate and his Jolly Roger pirate flag.
Parade floats will represent the Bucs, the Rays, the Rowdies and the Lightning, Lackman said, “so Champa Bay will be well-represented.”
EventFest and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla will put reserved tickets on sale Friday for the 2022 children’s Gasparilla parade on Jan. 22 and the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest on Jan. 29.
Early-bird prices for reserved bleacher seating for the children’s parade start at $45 at GasparillaTreasures.com. Gasparilla Parade of Pirates reserved bleacher seating starts at $55 per person, and combo tickets that include the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch start at $160. Call 813-251-8844 for information.
Those who purchased reserved and bleacher seating for the 2021 parades can redeem them for 2022. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-251-8844.