Gasparilla Pirate FestJanuary 27, 2024 | Tampa, Fl
Yo ho ho, matey’s! Set sail to the Gasparilla Pirate Fest for some swashbuckling adventures and unforgetable memories.
Every year, on the final Saturday of January, a massive crowd of over 300,000 pirate-clad spectators gathers for the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The festivities kick off with a magnificent flotilla of hundreds of vessels, led by the renowned Jose Gasparilla II, the world’s only fully-rigged pirate ship. Together, they embark on a daring mission to invade the city of Tampa and reclaim its key from the clutches of the Mayor. Once the key is safely in their possession, the gallant Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla takes the lead, guiding a grand procession of more than 100 floats down the iconic Bayshore Boulevard and into the heart of downtown Tampa.
The inaugural Gasparilla parade took place in May 1904, when the imaginative minds of Tampa Tribune society editor, Louise Frances Dodge, and the city’s director of customs, George Hardee, decided to infuse the spirit of New Orleans Mardi Gras with the local pirate legend. Their goal was to breathe new life into Tampa’s May Day celebration. The first event featured a group of daring local businessmen who donned pirate disguises, mounted horses, and staged a thrilling mock pirate invasion through the streets. Their unexpected arrival sparked the curiosity of onlookers, who eagerly followed them to join in the May Day festivities.
This spectacular display of pirate pride and merriment has become Tampa’s signature event, garnering nationwide recognition and making it the third-largest parade in the United States.
January 27, 2024
11:30 A.M. – 1:00 PM
Witness the majestic arrival of Gasparilla and his pirate crew at the Tampa Convention Center. The ship docks at 1:00 P.M. and the Captain meets the Mayor of Tampa to make his final demand for the key to the city.
Parade of Pirates Schedule
January 27, 2024
2:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Embarking from Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard, the pirate parade sets sail along Bayshore Boulevard, navigating its way to Brorein Street. From there, it turns east, venturing forth on Brorein Street, and finally sails north on Ashley Drive. The grand spectacle comes to a close at the intersection of Cass Street and Ashley Drive.
Witness the Gasparilla extravaganza without spending a doubloon! Numerous areas along Bayshore Boulevard and downtown offer prime vantage points to enjoy the parade’s merriment. There are paid spectator spots that can be purchased on the website.