Gasparilla Pirate Festival

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.  Fond of calling himself “Gasparilla“, Gaspar and his band of pirates lived a life of seizing and robbing merchant ships off the Gulf Coast until 1821.  

The Gasparilla Pirate Parade 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 the Covid19  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.

The parade is FREE to attend. You can purchase reserved seating here. A Gasparilla Brunch is normally  held at the Tampa Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are required for this event.

Gasparilla Parade 1922 over the Kennedy Blvd. Bridge, 1 year before Erehwon was built.


Henry Young, Jr.

For almost 45 years, Henry served in Fundraising and Arts Management positions and ran his own consulting firm. His work secondary schools; healthcare organizations; and service organizations, with a specialization in the performing arts, including ballet and theater companies, chamber orchestras, choirs, and performing arts centers. In 2009 he began to prepare for retirement. Following a career involved with the management of many special events and working with senior civic and corporate leadership, his experience in the managing of multiple relationships made entering the hospitality industry a natural extension of his career.