Paul's Travel Pictures

Gasparilla Pictures - Ybor City - Tampa, FL
 A photo album with images & information from the Gasparilla Pirate Festival & Parades in Ybor City Tampa, Florida.

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Gasparilla Parade Spectators

 
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The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a three day event in Ybor City, a part of Tampa Florida, where "pirates" invade the area by sailing into Hillsborough Bay.

Hundreds of privately owned sailboats, yachts and fishing boats venture out to watch the staged invasion. Thousands of spectators also gather on the Tampa beach to watch the extravagant pirate ships sailing in from the Gulf of Mexico to the Tampa Bay Harbor.

At night, the streets of Ybor City are filled with Tampa locals, and tourists from all over Florida who are delighted by the colorful parade of floats that toss beads to the crowds.

Every year since it's humble inception in 1904 the city of Tampa has held the event and now hundreds of thousands of people visit to enjoy the art, food, parades, festivals, charity run, and pirate invasion.

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Bead Throwing Floats
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Gasparilla Fat Tuesday Float
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The Gasparilla Pirate Festival began in 1904 as an event to celebrate one of Florida's most famous folklore characters, Jose Gaspar. His nickname was Gasparilla and he was said to have been one of the last Buccaneer pirates to raid the West coast of Florida with his band of pirates and massive Floridablanca Spanish Army sailboat. If Jose Gaspar did exist then his treasure stash at Gasparilla Island might still there waiting to be discovered.
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Republic of Cuervo Bus
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98 Rock Tampa Hummer
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The first Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Ybor City was organized by members of the Tampa business community to draw people to the area with parades modeled after the Mardi Gras event in New Orleans, Louisiana. The pirates invaded the city with horses and colorful costumes, then the next year the locals used their personal cars and vehicles to create an even more exciting parade.


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Bay Balloons Truck
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Flame Thrower Float
The modern Gasparilla Pirate Festival includes the Parade of Pirates Tampa Bay invasion, the Distance Classic charity run, Fiesta Day, a Festival of the Arts, the Classic Gymnastics Invitational, and the Illuminated Sant'Yago Night Parade. As you can see from the pictures in this photo album, my favorite part of Gasparailla are the night parades and festivals in the streets of Ybor City.
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Ybor City Streets Packed
The parade floats throw out tons of beads to the crowds. Most of the beads end up in the hands of children held up on their parent's shoulders. I'm not big on collecting beads and they usually aren't as nice as the beads that the floats at Mardi Gras give out. But then again, Mardi Gras is overcrowded and the weather is usually cold so I guess I shouldn't complain about the inexpensive plastic bead necklaces at Gasparilla.
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Horse Mounted Police Officers
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