Vast, adoring crowds, selfie-perfect weather, banging invasion. Gasparilla No. 100 lived up its reputation and then some. As per custom, Ye Mystic Krewe Capt. Rex Farrior III and his merry marauders seized the key to the city from Mayor Bob Buckhorn and marched victoriously with dozens of playmate krewes in Saturday's parade. Farrior was psyched to fly the flag his men designed for him with personal symbols in black and red. "Red for my bloodlines," said Farrior, the son of King Rex Farrior Jr. (1973) and brother of King Preston Farrior (2009).
Tent parties along Bayshore Boulevard offered shade, civilized bead retrieval and Catering by the Family's jerk chicken, guava barbecue pulled pork, mac and cheese and ample grogs. Captain Morgan's tent decor — paper lanterns and comfy sofas — earned most welcoming branding while Amalie Arena tent guests get coolest costumes kudos.
Laura Ashworth, one of the many rogue homeowners entertaining on the route, hosted 90 friends at the Bayshore Boulevard house where she grew up watching the parade. Her grandfather, who owned the first refrigerated truck in Tampa to deliver for the Herman Sausage Co., built the home in 1938.
Ye Mystic Krewe, their wives and dates kicked off the weekend in loud and colorful fashion Jan. 29 at Ye Captain's Ball at the Tampa Yacht Club. Pirates, quite a few sprouting seasonal beards and scars, swilled rum and puffed cigars. Atlanta band Party on the Moon lit the tent dance floor until 1 a.m. and krewe maestro Ward Cook kept it smooth inside. Capt. Rex surprised his hungry mates with a delivery of Chick-fil-A, Steak 'n Shake and Krispy Kreme before midnight.