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Gasparilla be canceled: A letter from the dread pirate Jose Gaspar
Tampa’s favorite scallywag weighs in on the difficult decision.
Members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla arrive at the Tampa Convention Center on the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship during the 103nd Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates on Saturday, January 25, 2020, in Tampa.
Members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla arrive at the Tampa Convention Center on the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship during the 103nd Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates on Saturday, January 25, 2020, in Tampa. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | TImes ]
Published Feb. 16
Updated Feb. 16

Argh! No, really, argh! I stubbed me toe in these boots.

Okay, avast and ahoy, me mateys. It is I, everyone’s favorite fictional Tampa pirate, Jose Gaspar. It has come to me attention that Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla has gone and canceled me 2021 parade due to the bilge-sucking coronavirus. That scurvy dog has spread through Florida faster than a ship rat.

Blimey hell. Tis’ a tragedy, fellow buccaneers, especially with how popular sea shanties are on TikTok. But the coxswains in charge made the right decision.

There be no social distancing at me event, and ye shouldn’t pretend otherwise. Heave ho, it’s an outright rum swap. How ye drink rum through a CamelBak with ye mask on, me don’t comprehend. At Gasparilla, bootees slap together until the streets run red with booty slaps. Six feet apart? Only between parade floats, wenches.

Look to the Mardi Gras peg legs for fortitude. If New Orleans can shut down Bourbon Street, named after French royalty known for debauchery and indifference to the suffering of landlubbers, so can ye. Privateers, batten the hatches and drink ye’selves three sheets to the wind from the poop deck at home this year.

Aye, but don’t be sad. Since Tampa started hoisting ale and firing actual guns in the street, me festivities have walked the plank from time to time. Eleven occasions, seadogs! And we always charge back, tricorn hats facing destiny, corsets due north.

Take heart, or my name isn’t Jose Gaspar, a pirate many people still insist is real, which I really find entertaining. Ye will live to see prominent lawyers and orthodontists sick with drink once more. Ye will see 15 men on a dead man’s chest along Bayshore Boulevard in no time at all. Ye will return home with armfuls of beads ye don’t want, plunder ye bodies with sun poisoning and rub ye heels raw with bloody blisters come the dawn of a new year.

Fearsomely,

Jose

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