Gasparilla Pirate Festival
Tampa celebrated its 100th Gasparilla Pirate Festival on January 31, 2015. Tampa’s answer to Mardi Gras celebrates the legend of Jose Gaspar (nicknamed Gasparilla), a mythical Spanish pirate captain who supposedly operated in southwest Florida. Gasparilla was founded in 1904. The festival didn’t happen in 1907-09 and was suspended during World War I and II.
Hundreds of thousands attend Gasparilla and related events each year. If both events are held as scheduled during the pandemic, Tampa will be home to what could be the biggest gathering of crowds in the nation for two consecutive weekends.
As reported in the Tampa Times, holding Gasparilla during this public health crisis isn’t impossible, said University of South Florida professor Jay Wolfson, an expert on public health and senior associate dean at the Morsani College of Medicine. He points to Disney World as an example of organizers doing an “excellent job” trying to prevent the spread of an unpredictable virus among large crowds of people.
But there are other factors at play, such as the state’s decision last week to reopen bars and breweries. Stay tuned.
Gasparilla Parade 1922 over the Kennedy Blvd. Bridge, 1 year before Erehwon was built.