Gasparilla 2017: Day Parade in photos

Cold, damp weather didn't keep the crowds away from a Tampa tradition.

click to enlarge Partying with the Pirates on Bayshore. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Partying with the Pirates on Bayshore.

Cooler weather and cloudy skies did not keep the estimated 300,000 people away from Saturday’s Gasparilla festivities. Crowds began gathering early in the morning to stake out prized spots along Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard. The smell of fried food from vendors filled the air, mixed with the bouquet of beer and cigars. Music blasted from portable speakers and people young and old prepared to get peppered with beads and other parade goodies.

click to enlarge Loring Ross from Fort Walton Beach brings his own version of the Wheel of Fortune to the parade. Ross came up with the concept in his hometown of Fort Walton Beach for the Billy Bowlegs Festival, where he found lots of winners. His backpack is filled with libations from Jell-O shots to tequila. He did not say what happens if you land on “Slap the Bag." - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Loring Ross from Fort Walton Beach brings his own version of the Wheel of Fortune to the parade. Ross came up with the concept in his hometown of Fort Walton Beach for the Billy Bowlegs Festival, where he found lots of winners. His backpack is filled with libations from Jell-O shots to tequila. He did not say what happens if you land on “Slap the Bag."

click to enlarge The José Gaspar ship arrives at the Tampa convention center bringing the start of the daylong festivities. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
The José Gaspar ship arrives at the Tampa convention center bringing the start of the daylong festivities.

click to enlarge Nick McDuffie and Tyler Krane came prepared with their commando style beer belt. They are Gasparilla veterans. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Nick McDuffie and Tyler Krane came prepared with their commando style beer belt. They are Gasparilla veterans.

click to enlarge Nichole Coffee poses with  her skeletal parrot Murkaccio. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Nichole Coffee poses with her skeletal parrot Murkaccio.

click to enlarge Uber was in the house. They teamed up with the City of Tampa and created a service they called the Efficiency Plan. People using the ride sharing app could get a free ride costing up to $15 by simply entering a code. Tom Villaverde, who was promoting the program, was unable to say how long someone might have to wait to get a car during such a crowded event. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Uber was in the house. They teamed up with the City of Tampa and created a service they called the Efficiency Plan. People using the ride sharing app could get a free ride costing up to $15 by simply entering a code. Tom Villaverde, who was promoting the program, was unable to say how long someone might have to wait to get a car during such a crowded event.

click to enlarge Drag Queen Clyo poses in her 12 inch heels. Hailing from Fort Myers, she performs frequently at Liquid in Ybor City. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Drag Queen Clyo poses in her 12 inch heels. Hailing from Fort Myers, she performs frequently at Liquid in Ybor City.

click to enlarge Brendan Rochelle wore a squirrel costume to the parade. He bought it for a festival a couple of months ago and thought Gasparilla was the perfect place for a redux. He was right and was a popular target for photo takers. He is joined by his partner Alyssa Buckles, who inexplicably kept licking his face. Party on! - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Brendan Rochelle wore a squirrel costume to the parade. He bought it for a festival a couple of months ago and thought Gasparilla was the perfect place for a redux. He was right and was a popular target for photo takers. He is joined by his partner Alyssa Buckles, who inexplicably kept licking his face. Party on!

click to enlarge Tommy Bell with the 13 Ugly Men organization enjoys a cigar and handing out beads. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Tommy Bell with the 13 Ugly Men organization enjoys a cigar and handing out beads.

click to enlarge Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn adorned in large skull beads and red skull and crossbones pants threw beads and shook hands with his citizenry on Saturday. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn adorned in large skull beads and red skull and crossbones pants threw beads and shook hands with his citizenry on Saturday.

click to enlarge Pamela Johnson screams for pirate booty along the parade route. This was her third year at the festival. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Pamela Johnson screams for pirate booty along the parade route. This was her third year at the festival.

click to enlarge How many creative ways can you think of to drink beer quickly? Bet they aren’t as inspired as this female mannequin turned beer bong named Sally, with her funnel going down her neck and the beer coming out of her... well… southern regions. Pirate Wench Maria (not her real name — she’s applying to law school) shows her mastery of beer bonging while being cheered on by her friends. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
How many creative ways can you think of to drink beer quickly? Bet they aren’t as inspired as this female mannequin turned beer bong named Sally, with her funnel going down her neck and the beer coming out of her... well… southern regions. Pirate Wench Maria (not her real name — she’s applying to law school) shows her mastery of beer bonging while being cheered on by her friends.

click to enlarge Here's the street level view of the crowd during the parade. As packed and liquored up as many people appeared to be, this reporter saw no significant altercations. According to a report by Fox News, only eight people were arrested during the event. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Here's the street level view of the crowd during the parade. As packed and liquored up as many people appeared to be, this reporter saw no significant altercations. According to a report by Fox News, only eight people were arrested during the event.

click to enlarge Baily Rodgers taunted Pirates with her hole. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Baily Rodgers taunted Pirates with her hole.

click to enlarge Bayshore Boulevard was stuffed with people wanting to get a closer look at the passing floats and grab some plastic treasure. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Bayshore Boulevard was stuffed with people wanting to get a closer look at the passing floats and grab some plastic treasure.

click to enlarge With thousands of people drinking thousands of beers, it all has to go somewhere. Lines for portable toilets were long all day. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
With thousands of people drinking thousands of beers, it all has to go somewhere. Lines for portable toilets were long all day.

click to enlarge Yes, boobs for beads is still a thing at Gasparilla. But, with cooler weather and more prevalent law enforcement, signs are probably the better way to go. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Yes, boobs for beads is still a thing at Gasparilla. But, with cooler weather and more prevalent law enforcement, signs are probably the better way to go.

click to enlarge Even with the city's vigorous effort to keep people out of the well-appointed medians along the parade route, some people couldn't resist walking in the gardens and stepping on the plants. Sometimes, you just can’t have nice things. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Even with the city's vigorous effort to keep people out of the well-appointed medians along the parade route, some people couldn't resist walking in the gardens and stepping on the plants. Sometimes, you just can’t have nice things.

click to enlarge Two-year-old Connor, who moved here with his parents John and Mark from Chicago two weeks ago, tries his hand at pirating. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Two-year-old Connor, who moved here with his parents John and Mark from Chicago two weeks ago, tries his hand at pirating.

Want more? The party is just starting. The 2017 Sant'Yago Illuminated Knight Parade rolls through Ybor City starting at 6:30 PM on Saturday, February 11. Many of the same Krewes and floats participate in this evening event along Seventh Avenue where the crowd can be a little more raucous.

Are athletics more your thing? There’s still time to sign up for the Gasparilla Distance Classic coming up on February 25 and 26. There’s a 5K and a half  marathon and a few runs in between. If you’re a runner, a walker, or just want to join the crowd, there’s something for everybody.

The Gasparilla Music Festival makes its way to downtown Tampa on March 11. It’s a huge event featuring dozens of musical acts. The organizers state that part of the mission of the event is to support and promote music and education. Check out the lineup.

And don’t forget GASP!, the Gasparilla Finge Festival. For the fourth year in a row, Creative Loafing and the Tampa Museum of Art get together to bring you a variety of entertainment, food, and drinks. You can purchase tickets here. Don’t miss out!

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.