Thousands of people showed up for the annual Gasparilla celebration on Bayshore Boulevard and downtown Tampa. The weather was sunny and dry and perfect for a parade. Gasparilla, named after a legendary pirate who reportedly terrorized Western Florida in the late 1700s, is the largest street party of the year in Tampa.
Members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla start in the early morning at the Tampa Yacht Club. It's where they get their makeup applied by professional stylists and schmooze with some of the power brokers from the city and state. On Saturday Gov. Rick Scott, Atty. Gen. Pam Bondi, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn were in attendance. There is lots of food and alcohol to get the party started. From that point they board the pirate ship the José Gasparilla and sail across Hillsborough Bay and down Seddon Channel surrounded by a flotilla of private boats. Upon the ship's arrival at Channelside, the mayor surrenders the key to the city and the invasion begins.
The invasion parade route runs along Bayshore Boulevard and into downtown Tampa. It is lined with partiers from all walks of life and all ages.
Beads rule the day! There are many tactics for obtaining the strings of shiny trinkets from the dozens of krewes and organizations. See more pictures ...