3:52 p.m. — Tony "The Birdman" Beck walked the parade route with a colorful pair of parrots. A kiss from one of the birds was free, but for a photo with the parrots Beck ask for a nominal tip.
3:50 p.m. — The Gasparilla party to be at on Bayshore Boulevard was the joint bash thrown by the families of Joe Maddon and Jill Kelley, arguably the best known next-door neighbors in Tampa. And they knew it, too.
The families hired about 20 private security officers, each equipped with utility belts sporting a weapon or two, to grant entry to only those on the guest list and keep drunk passersby from sitting on the retaining wall.
Maddon's side was blocked off by a chain link fence, from behind which The B Street Band, a remarkably good cover band of everybody's favorite Boss from New Jersey, belted away on Rosalita and other Springsteen favorites.
The Kelleys, who have a much more expansive lawn, didn't bother with the fence, and instead positioned guards every 50 feet or so. The grass was tastefully dotted with alternating black and red table clothes -- classic pirate colors.
Kelley was visible from the sidewalk, mingling with members of Wounded Warriors, a veterans group.
3:35 p.m. —Tish Thornberry, 72, stood behind a stand near the parade offering passers-by coffee and water for free or for a donation to the Humane Society. Even though they can take the refreshments for free, several people pay and she usually covers her costs and nets $300 to $400 for the Humane Society.
She said younger attendees are particularly generous with donations.
"Plus, it keeps them sober," Thornberry said.
Thornberry also lets law enforcement officials use her Willow Avenue home to go to restroom. In fact, she hands out cards with her address and the phrase "Gasparilla Security Staff Welcome House."
3:26 p.m. — Drew and Kim McKay of Sarasota, who planted themselves on Ashley Drive with children Chelsea, 7, and Liam, 5, said downtown is definitely a family friendly place to enjoy Gasparilla. The only drawback is the long wait for the parade to arrive. The parents' top concern was finding a spot relatively secluded from the general mayhem and chaos of Gasparilla so the kids would not be endangered. "I figured it would be a safe bet here," Drew McKay said.
3:03 p.m. — What are deputies in the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office mobile command unit to do on Gasparilla Day when everything is going smoothly? Watch the movie Predator, apparently.
The unit was actually functioning as a communications hub for the sheriff's office, where dispatchers could communicate with deputies in the field and coordinate with Tampa police. But since things had been going so well as of 2 p.m., the personnel inside were effectively on standby, enjoying the Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller.
Across the parking lot, the just west of Publix behind Zudar's, the Tampa Police Department trailer was just as mellow.
"We've got nothing to talk about, because nothing's happening," said TPD's Jeff Kritz, mobile command center operator. "It's been quiet."
The Tampa police mobile unit was serving as an on-site office where police higher-ups could meet, plan and do paperwork. Also, officers in the field could call in with questions pertaining to the event.
Kritz confirmed there had been no arrests made yet.
"Usually, by now, we'd have five or six," he said.
He attributed the good fortune to law enforcement's curbing of certain behavior, specifically bringing hard liquor filled coolers along the parade route, over the past few years.
"But that's as of now," Kritz quipped. "Come back around 4."
2:50 p.m. — Minnie Carter, 59, of Auburndale figured out the perfect way to collect beads and avoid the rowdiness endemic of more-crowded Bayshore Boulevard. Carter, her ex-husband Steve Baker and daughter Antranette Baker brought a bunch of chairs along with seven grand-kids to a shady spot under some live oak trees on relatively sedate Ashley Drive near the end of the parade route.
"We've figured this out about five years ago," said Minnie Carter. ""It's not as congested here, plus we're under the trees. We get quite a lot of beads."
2:46 p.m. — Tampa police are reporting no significant incidents so far related to the invasion or parade. But some of the krewes are shooting blanks. And some of the spectators keep getting startled.
2:30 p.m. — Ava Lambert was among several children on Estrella Street selling lemonade to Gasparilla-goers. Ava, with her father Adam looking on, said the proceeds will go to her 10th birthday party.
2:15 p.m. — At Rome and Bayshore. Tampa's Jennifer Brown, 45, was managing upscale bathroom stalls called VIPEE. It's one of four stations posted near the parade route and attendants are charging $5 each time you use them. The bathrooms have wood flooring and are cleaned throughout the day. "It's like an upscale regular bathroom out of a house," Brown said. Business was slow initially but started picking up around 1 p.m., especially as lines at the port-o-lets started to grow.
2:10 p.m. — Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on today's perfect Gasparilla weather: "The mayor took care of that."
2:07 p.m. — As parade begins, sunscreen is in more demand than beads, and discarded eye patches have been spotted on the route.
1:30 p.m.— Most parking lots are full or near full at the start of the parade route and up Bayshore Boulevard. If you're on your way, bring $15 to $20 and keep your eyes peeled for sporadic spots.
12:59 p.m. — "Everything's fine," Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said reassuringly. No arrests had been made by 12:45 p.m., as far as she knew.
"But this is when we hold our breath, when the boat docks," she said, with the Jose Gaspar visible out in distance, being guided in by law enforcement boats from agencies all over the state.
12:50 p.m. — While parade floats parked and prepared for the day's festivities, John Mark Wallace and Jamie Labrecque pulled up to the Academy of the Holy Names in a white limousine.
Wedding guests and cameras quickly surrounded the car, which carried the couple and their family to their pre-Gasparilla wedding ceremony.
In pirate boots and corsets, a crowd watched as Labrecque stepped onto the street with her father, Jack.
"I can't believe we did it," said Valerie Jackson, Labrecque's friend of five years and the maid of honor.
Labrecque's champagne and burgundy pirate dress draped down to the floor, and she smiled and waved at friends, family and Krewe members as she made her way up the makeshift aisle.
The ceremony was quick, and right around noon the two said their "I dos."
As husband and wife, the couple cut their cake across from the Academy and by the bay. Following a toast, they linked arms and took a swig together.
"It's different than anything we've ever experienced, but it's unique." said Labrecque's father, Jack, who traveled from Canada with his wife Charmaine for the ceremony. "It was worth the trip down here."
After snapping a few pirate portraits, the two boarded the Krewe of Rogues float and celebrated before the start of the parade.
They each wore sashes that read "Just Married."
12: 34 p.m. — Tampa Fire Rescue officials offered a quick quip out on the parade route: "We did not get special badges but we did get free lunch from Firehouse Subs." The quote is a reference to the special skull and crossbone badges Ye Mystic Krewe gave to the Tampa Police Department to commemorate the 100th Gasparilla celebration
12:19 p.m. — Members of the Bonney-Read Krewe got the best of both Gasparilla worlds: a Bayshore brunch retreat and a float, called the Vanity, in the parade. That's because two Krewe members, Laura Barton and Joan King, live next door to each other along the northern end of Bayshore Boulevard.
Under the Krewe's flag, members of the all-women Krewe enjoyed "sustenance," as King put it: mimosas, quiches and other fancy brunch fare, before they herd into a private bus which will transport them to their float location.
The krewe is named for two women pirates during the 1700s -- Anne Bonney and Mary Read -- who pretended to be men to serve on a pirate ship, the Vanity (namesake for the Krewe's float, of course), Barton said. Legend has it, according to Barton and verified by the Krewe's website and a quick Google search, when capture by the British was imminent, all the men were drinking below deck and the two women were tasked with fighting off the Royal Navy all their own.
The Vanity was overwhelmed and the pirates captured. They were all sentenced to death by hanging, though, the women, who were pregnant, had their deaths postponed until after childbirth. Turns out, Anne had been having an affair with the Vanity's captain, Jack Rackham. Just before Jack's hanging, he sought out Anne for comfort, Barton said. Instead, she offered him her final words: "If you had fought like a man, you wouldn't have been hanged like a dog," Barton recited.
"And that's who we're named after," King said with a smile.
10:57 a.m. — Gasparilla started before sunrise for Paul Schnitzlein.
The 57-year-old slept on his 34-foot motorized catamaran Friday night — docked at Tampa Yacht & Country Club — to get a head start on festivities. By 5:30 a.m. he was awake to put on pirate attire.
"It was chilly," Schnitzlein said.
After a short walk from the dock, he was in line for the club's breakfast buffet by 7 a.m.
The buffet served up 300 eggs, 1,200 pounds of fried chicken, 500 pounds of potatoes, 2,000 biscuits and 200 pounds of sausage and bacon for about 1,700 club and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla members, said Scott Fairbarin, the club's general manager.
He said bartenders served about 50 gallons of Bloody Mary mix and about 80 gallons of the club's signature milk punch – a mixture of milk and brandy.
"The theory is the milk coats their stomachs," Fairbairn said.
Several local authorizes joined the breakfast, including the Coast Guard, Tampa Police and sheriff's office deputies from a handful of surrounding counties.
Guests are expected to board boats for the invasion around 11:15 a.m.
"By noon it'll be a ghost town as they get on the ship and head downtown," Fairbarin said.
10:28 a.m. — Among the first parade viewers to stake out a spot on Bayshore Boulevard were Danny Macko and his crew.
For the past five years, they've been arriving early to nab their favorite spot under one of the Davis Islands overpasses.
"We don't have to provide our own shade," the 29 year-old Hillsborough County school teacher said.
He and his teacher friends — nine of whom arrived around 8:30 a.m. and 11 more, who are markedly less hard core, set to arrive later — like to make it feel like a football tailgate. They play a Swedish game called Kubb (pronounced "Koob"), that somewhat resembles corn hole, in which players knock over opponent's wooden blocks.
They were taking up a large plot of land toward the end of the parade route, but promised to consolidate as it got more crowded. But, they said, the close quarters provide for ample opportunity to meet people, and challenge them to Kubb.
"We went undefeated last year," Macko said.
9:57 a.m. — Nestled under the overpass that serves as Davis Islands only exit is the last beer tent along the Gasparilla parade route near the top of Bayshore Boulevard.
All six of the beer tents along the route are run by charities. Twenty-towo organizations applied for the privilege of serving the hundreds of thousands of parade onlookers.
Carly Castora, 26, a manager for the nonprofit Spring of Tampa Bay, which provides services to survivors of domestic violence in Hillsborough County, briefed her team of volunteers around 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
"The briefing was getting them pumped up for the day and reminding them why we're doing what we're doing," she said
This is the Spring's first year operating a beer tent and it hopes to bring in $25,000 in profit during the parade, making Gasparilla one of its biggest fundraisers all year.
"And to have fun," she demanded of her team.
9:46 a.m. — The magnificence of the Florida sun has made an early appearance as people begin to gather for today's 100th edition of the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.
Folks already have snared spots along the Bayshore Boulevard route and on the Davis Islands bridge, where they await the arrival of the Jose Gaspar ship at the Tampa Convention Center. The Ye Mystic Krewe pirates will embark from the Tampa Yacht Club around 11 a.m. and arrive at the convention center at approximately 1 p.m. They will take the key to the city from Mayor Bob Buckhorn and then begin their parade at 2 p.m.
Street closures began Friday night and will continue through the day. To help mitigate the crowd of parade goers as well as folks attending the Book of Mormon matinee at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the city will keep Tyler and Cass streets east of Ashley open until 1 p.m.
Come back to this story to get updates on all the action of the day.