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Tampa’s Gasparilla season to kick off on New Year’s Eve with treasure chest booty drop

Mayor Jane Castor unveils a pirate-themed New Year’s Eve celebration in Curtis Hixon Park with a 3-D projection of a dropping treasure chest.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor tosses beads at the Snow on 7th holiday parade in Ybor City. Next up: A pirate-themed New Year's Eve event to kick off Gasparilla. Aaaarg! [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor tosses beads at the Snow on 7th holiday parade in Ybor City. Next up: A pirate-themed New Year's Eve event to kick off Gasparilla. Aaaarg! [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Published Dec. 18, 2019
Updated Dec. 18, 2019

TAMPA — Gasparilla season now starts on New Year’s Eve, Tampa.

But instead of a dropping disco ball, how about a 320-foot-tall projection of a treasure chest dropping down the side of downtown’s Rivergate Tower, known to many as the Beer Can building?

Mayor Jane Castor’s rebranding went into full pirate mode Wednesday with the unveiling of the “New Yarrgh’s Eve Booty Drop” — or #NYEBOOTYDROP for the social media crowd.

The highlight? That dropping treasure chest. But the free event at Curtis Hixon Park will also have food trucks on hand and, the city promises, will be family-friendly. The party will run from 9 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.

As for fireworks? “Some pyrotechnic features will accompany the main spectacular,” read the news release, enigmatically.

Here’s the official video to get your Paarty on:


  1. A section of the Robles Park Village public housing complex was built on top the forgotten Zion Cemetery.
  2. Tampa City Council chairman Luis Viera said Mayor Jane Castor's decision to add a second ambulance to Station 13 in North Tampa will improve emergency services for his constituents.
  3. A rendering of the new Ulta created by Hennon Group Architects and included in the permits for the building filed with the City of Tampa.
  4. New Orleans-based Dat Dog offers exotic sausages like alligator, duck and crawfish, along with multiple vegan options and more than 30 toppings. The chain is seeking franchisees to bring a location to Tampa Bay.
  5. James S. Moody III was appointed in January as a Hillsborough County Judge. He is the son of federal judge James S. Moody Jr. and the brother of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. [Photo courtesy of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court]
  6. Michael Keetley is brought into the courtroom during his murder trial Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 in Tampa. Keetley is the former ice cream truck driver who is accused of shooting a group of men in 2010.
  7. The Oaks Estate, a mansion owned by Lazydays RV co-founder Donald Wallace and his wife Erika. The property is a French-Normandy country-style gated manor build on Lake Thonotosassa listed on the market with an asking price of $17.5 million. It includes a main house, 2-story guest house, garage for up to 20 cars, workshop, pool house, gatehouse, horse barn with grazing pasture, indoor and outdoor pools, 2-story boat house, go-cart track, bowling alley and jogging trail pictured on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 in Thonotosassa.
  8. Karen Hamilton (center) is pictured going over information with her students (L-R) Madison Bowers, 17, Ashley Boarders, 18, and Bobby Campamor, 15 after competition. Hamilton runs the 4H program at Riverview High School and for 18 years has run the Sassy Cows for Savvy Kids program, a program to help developmentally disabled students compete at the state fair.
  9. A fire engulfed a Tampa home at 1011 E 23rd Ave. on Wednesday, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.
  10. Wawa and Coppertail partnered to create a craft beer that will only be at the gas station's Florida locations.
  11. The Publix at Channelside (pictured) opened in late August. Now the new store at Westshore in Tampa will open later this month. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  12. After nearly four decades of operating a restaurant on Fourth Avenue in Ybor City, Cephas Gilbert has a new location. He now runs a juice hut inside Tequilas Ybor in Tampa.