Gasparilla began in 1904 and was originally celebrated on the second Monday in February.
In 1988, Gasparilla was moved to a Saturday to allow surrounding communities to take part in the celebration.
Here is the history behind of one of the country’s largest annual parades, which attracts about 500,000 people each year.
The name comes from legendary pirate José Gaspar, “last of the Buccaneers,” who terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida during the late 18th and early 19th century.
When Gaspar died, he supposedly left a fortune in buried treasure somewhere along the Florida coast. The treasure has never been found.
YMKG is an organization formed in 1904 YMKG formed in 1904 upon discovering Gaspar’s story. The group adopted a citywide celebration in honor of Gaspar.
The organization said it is “dedicated to enriching the vitality and imagination of Tampa and the surrounding community.”
On Saturday, the world’s only fully rigged pirate ship, the Jose Gasparilla, will set sail from the south end of Hillsborough Bay
Everything you need to know about the annual Pirate Fest
The 2020 Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest kicks off on Saturday, January 25.
The Gasparilla Invasion will start at 11 a.m. when the world’s only fully-rigged pirate ship, the Jose Gasparilla, sets sail at the south end of Hillsborough Bay and travels north to Seddon Channel to dock at the Tampa Convention Center.
The Parade of the Pirates begins at 2 p.m. at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard. It will continue along Bayshore Boulevard to Brorein Street turning east on Brorein Street and then north on Ashley Drive. The parade will end at Cass Street and Ashley Drive. The parade is FREE to attend.
here will be several road closures in and around Tampa’s downtown and along Bayshore Boulevard due to the parade.
Check out these parking options:
- Tampa Convention Center Garage (Tampa St. & Brorein St.) will open at 7:00 a.m. at a rate of $10 per vehicle entry.
- Ft. Brooke Garage (Whiting St. between Franklin St. & Florida Ave.) will open at 7:00 a.m. at a rate of $10 per vehicle entry.
- Poe Garage (Ashley St., south of Cass St.) will open at 7:00 a.m. at a rate of $10 per vehicle entry. Due to the parade route, this garage will close from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Customers will not be able to enter or exit this garage until after 6:00 p.m.
- Twiggs St. Garage (Twiggs St., west of Nebraska Ave.) will open at 7:00 a.m. at normal hourly rates of $1.20/hr, with a $7 daily maximum. This will be an automated facility with a Pay Station collecting payment upon exit.
- Centro Ybor Garage (5 th Ave. and 15th St.) will open at 6 a.m. at the standard hourly rate with a $9.00 maximum.
- Palm Ave Garage (13th St. and 9th Ave.) will open at 6 a.m. at the standard hourly rate with a $9.00 maximum.
- Royal Regional Lot (Tampa St. & Fortune St.) will be open at 7:00 a.m. at a rate of $10 per vehicle.
- Scott Street Lot (Morgan St. and Scott St.) will be open at 7:00 a.m. at a rate of $5 per vehicle.
- Meters south of Kennedy Blvd. and on Kennedy Blvd will be enforced from 8:00 a.m. until midnight.
Attendees may also consider parking in Ybor or the Channel District and taking the Tampa Streetcar for FREE to the event.