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Tampa, Florida

Gasparilla Season 2020

Every year since 1905, legendary pirate José Gaspar and his band of rapscallions will sail the nation’s only fully functional pirate ship into the heart of Tampa Bay on Jan. 25. Then, beads a-flyin’, they’ll lead the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.

For more than a century, the legendary pirate José Gaspar, has invaded Tampa Bay, kicking off two treasure-filled months of parades, festivals, and other excitement. Starting with the nation’s third-largest parade and running through road races, to festivals featuring music, art and film -- the entire destination bursts with activities for everyone for eight weeks.


The Gasparilla invasion sets sail at the south end of the Hillsborough Bay at 11:30 am and continues north to dock at the Tampa Convention Center at 1:00 pm. Although hooligans travel from destinations across the country to attend, many locals host their own Pre-Gasparilla Brunch welcoming fellow scalawags, wenches, gools to form their own unique crew to invade the streets. Hazel + Dot is stocked with all of your party needs from custom wreaths, napkins, cups, hand towels, koozies and all the accessories a wench could ever need.

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Conquer The Invasion

Dressing the part is a wise choice when pirates invade your town. The Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center is easy pickins with a bounty of beads and other Gasparilla-themed goodies. You’ll find anything from pantaloons to Spanish doubloons, at Pirate Fashions and Don Me Now, which outfit scalawags and wenches of every type. In a pinch, a bandanna on your noggin and a painted-on facial scar will help you blend in! A parrot (living or dead) on your shoulder always makes a nice accessory.

Pirate invasions are not for the weak of heart or the empty of belly, so start your day with a big breakfast at your favorite dining spot. For a piece of Tampa Bay history, try a pancake as big as your face at Goody Goody in Hyde Park Village, home to the kind of breakfast that’ll keep you going through the roughest seas.

Join the crowds lining Bayshore Boulevard for a shower of pirate treasure – beads, beads, and more beads! – rain down from more than 100 floats that travel the parade route from Bay to Bay Avenue into downtown. So reach out your hands and drape her neck in the treasures of Gasparilla -- just be sure share the wealth the those behind you who may be less vertically inclined.

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I hope this review on the third largest festival in the country gets you excited to join the 2020 Gasparilla Festival.

Until Next Time!