Gone are the days of vacation for everyone out there, except for those living in Tampa Bay. This city has begun celebrating the ambiguous history of pirates, which is an actual city holiday, believe it or not! Although Tampa Bay is a year-round paradise destination the Gasparilla Season is a sacred element of the city. From the month of January until March, it is everyone’s turn to get dressed up like a pirate and celebrate the pirate way no matter what age category you fall under.In brief, Gasparilla Season consists of people dressed as pirates and the parade is based on pirate’s theme. You should not miss the final day of this celebration because you will miss out the international film festival. There are lot of happening during this season starting from January to March.
A week before the renowned Pirate Festivities, the season commences by focusing on the Children with “Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza”. Since it is an alcohol-free event and there are many activities for the family along the Bayshore Boulevard. There are even strollers and wagons that are decorated for those families with children who are five years old or less. You will also witness the special parachute team from the United States Special Operations, and they go by the name of “Para-Commandos” landing upon Bayshore. Once the parachutist’s lands, the parade will begin which consists of children who are aged six years and above on many floats assisted by almost forty krewe members, marching bands, organisation of the community and dance groups as well. The spectacular extravaganza comes to a stunning end with a large firework display called the Gasparilla Piratechnic Extravaganza.
Right after the children are done playing, that is when the adults start to play during the weekend. The Jose Gasparilla sails in glory to the Bay, which is up to 165-feet tall with many pirates on the Jose. You will see more than three hundred thousand people waiting to spectate the scenes, dressed in buccaneer attire, heading towards the Bayshore Boulevard and walking along the route, which looks very bright with the costumes and the parade route will be filled with the marching bands along with the floats. Don’t forget that there is a treasure hunt that you will not want to miss!
February begins with a colorful and spectacular celebration of Sant’ Yago Knight Parade which is in Ybor City. This celebration has been happening for more than forty years with its beautiful illumination, many multi-colored attires, floats and many spectators gathering to watch the parade along the Seventh Venue. The celebration will be held on one of the Saturday evenings and will go on until the next early morning where you will be able to enjoy the after party.
Following the Sant’ Yago Knight Parade is the foot race Gasparilla Distance Classic which has been going on since 1978. The race includes a 5-kilometer run, a half-marathon and even family friendly stroll walks. You will also get to witness a party after the race, a presentation and awards ceremony with some live grooving music.
As the month of March begins, so does the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, which is held at an outdoor museum in downtown Tampa that will let one get a glimpse of some of the most diverse pieces of art that you can find in one place. There are over thousands of artists that submit their creative pieces but only hundreds of talented pieces are selected for the exhibition. These artists that come together are open and willing to share their opinions and thoughts through art. You will also come across a few activities and art show spots for children, some local food combined with local music which will be played live and be able to get a taste of the festival and the local culture.
The family friendly Music Festival will begin after the Festival of the Arts, which will go on for two days with four stages. This festival has been nominated and voted as the best festival in the city for the past four years consecutively. There are local bands that take part along with national acts as well. If you are worried about food concessions not being available, you have got it wrong. There are many restaurants that will serve local dishes using local farm ingredients. You will also come across stalls with cocktails and crafted beers. Ever been to a fest within a fest? Well there is a Kids Fest within the Music Festival, which will include art projects, music, live performances and yoga as well.
Finally, the Gasparilla International Film Festival will bring the festivities to a close with its offerings of films, art and documentaries. These will be filmed during a period of five days and each one will be judged. There is also a reception with a red carpet as well to give it all the glamour it requires. You might see a few celebrities around as well, so be prepared to try and get a few photographs.
Lux Van Rentals at Wesley Chapel Florida is also celebrating Gasparilla and those looking for rental vehicles during this season can rent vehicles from Lux Van Rentals. The best place to rent cars during Gasparilla is Lux Van Rentals, a company with a heritage of excellence.
IMAGE SOURCE – GASPARILLAPIRATEFEST.COM