Gasparilla Postponed

%E2%80%9CGasparilla+parade%E2%80%9D+by+Kathy+from+Flickr+%0A

“Gasparilla parade” by Kathy from Flickr

Maddy Scharf, Staff Writer

   Tampa’s annual winter Gasparilla parades have been postponed to April and May because of the continued concern of the Coronavirus. As the new year begins, COVID-19 and the national regulations have followed us into 2021, continuing to restrict, postpone or cancel many large public events. The Tampa officials and organizers of Gasparilla have decided that it is best to postpone to ensure the safety of the citizens and participants. 

   “We appreciate their commitment to keeping our community safe. Gasparilla is a cherished Tampa tradition – when we come together, we want to ensure we do it the right way,” Mayor Jane Castor said during her official statement to the press. 

   This annual Tampa tradition began in 1904 as a way to increase Tampa’s popularity by giving people a reason to visit to see the parade and have a good time. The city of Tampa chose a celebration about pirates because they proved an increasing popularity within the communities and the economy as well as included an intriguing story of the famous pirate, Jose Gaspar.   

   Although this celebration has been continued for over 100 years, there is no real evidence that Jose Gaspar ever truly existed, or even came to Tampa, however Tampa citizens enjoy the fun, food and music that comes with the Parade of Pirates, 

   Typically the parade is held on the last Saturday in January when members of the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG) sail into downtown Tampa on a large replica pirate ship along with many private boats in order to demand that the mayor hand over the key to the city. After they fire mini cannons and the mayor plays along and hands over a fake key of the city to the “pirates” then sail a victory parade along Bayshore Boulevard. 

   Many other “krewes” and organizations follow them with their boats or create floats to drive along the road to participate in the festivities. The whole community is involved, including marching bands, majorettes, drill teams and dozens of floats from local businesses and organizations who throw beads into the crowd. The party continues into the night along the Tampa Riverwalk and many hold Gasparilla parties of their own, giving people a reason to dress like pirates, invite their friends over, and have a good time. 

     As the parade became more popular, attendance rose and the celebration grew and developed. The Gasparilla Children’s Parade was created for the kids to be more involved, which happens a week before the main parade as well as the Sant’Yago Illuminated Knight Parade in Ybor City two weeks before the main parade, which both draw a large crowd. 

     “Gasparilla season”, which runs for about two months, has grown to accommodate many other pirates themed events for the citizens to enjoy along with the parades. These festivals include the Gasparilla Film Festival, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, the Gasparilla Distance Classic and the Gasparilla Music Festival. These events bring light to Tampa during the cold and sad winter and have been a staple in Tampa for generations, which is why the postponement has been so disappointing. All of these events have been forced to move to a later date because they can not be held online. With the postponement of all of these festivals, artists, musicians, and writers are left feeling distraught, especially after the difficult year they’ve had sharing their art. Also, local businesses who benefit off of the attention from the parade will feel the impact without the exposure, so everyone is encouraged to support the small businesses after all of the hardships that came with last year. 

     “Safety is our most important responsibility. We look forward to celebrating with our mateys safely and responsibly this April,” YMKG Captain Peter Lackman said to the press. 

 

Gasparilla postponed 

   Tampa’s annual winter Gasparilla parades have been postponed to April and May because of the continued concern of the Coronavirus. As the new year begins, COVID-19 and the national regulations have followed us into 2021, continuing to restrict, postpone or cancel many large public events. The Tampa officials and organizers of Gasparilla have decided that it is best to postpone to ensure the safety of the citizens and participants. 

   “We appreciate their commitment to keeping our community safe. Gasparilla is a cherished Tampa tradition – when we come together, we want to ensure we do it the right way,” Mayor Jane Castor said during her official statement to the press. 

   This annual Tampa tradition began in 1904 as a way to increase Tampa’s popularity by giving people a reason to visit to see the parade and have a good time. The city of Tampa chose a celebration about pirates because they proved an increasing popularity within the communities and the economy as well as included an intriguing story of the famous pirate, Jose Gaspar.   

   Although this celebration has been continued for over 100 years, there is no real evidence that Jose Gaspar ever truly existed, or even came to Tampa, however Tampa citizens enjoy the fun, food and music that comes with the Parade of Pirates, 

   Typically the parade is held on the last Saturday in January when members of the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG) sail into downtown Tampa on a large replica pirate ship along with many private boats in order to demand that the mayor hand over the key to the city. After they fire mini cannons and the mayor plays along and hands over a fake key of the city to the “pirates” then sail a victory parade along Bayshore Boulevard. 

   Many other “krewes” and organizations follow them with their boats or create floats to drive along the road to participate in the festivities. The whole community is involved, including marching bands, majorettes, drill teams and dozens of floats from local businesses and organizations who throw beads into the crowd. The party continues into the night along the Tampa Riverwalk and many hold Gasparilla parties of their own, giving people a reason to dress like pirates, invite their friends over, and have a good time. 

     As the parade became more popular, attendance rose and the celebration grew and developed. The Gasparilla Children’s Parade was created for the kids to be more involved, which happens a week before the main parade as well as the Sant’Yago Illuminated Knight Parade in Ybor City two weeks before the main parade, which both draw a large crowd. 

     “Gasparilla season”, which runs for about two months, has grown to accommodate many other pirates themed events for the citizens to enjoy along with the parades. These festivals include the Gasparilla Film Festival, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, the Gasparilla Distance Classic and the Gasparilla Music Festival. These events bring light to Tampa during the cold and sad winter and have been a staple in Tampa for generations, which is why the postponement has been so disappointing. All of these events have been forced to move to a later date because they can not be held online. With the postponement of all of these festivals, artists, musicians, and writers are left feeling distraught, especially after the difficult year they’ve had sharing their art. Also, local businesses who benefit off of the attention from the parade will feel the impact without the exposure, so everyone is encouraged to support the small businesses after all of the hardships that came with last year. 

     “Safety is our most important responsibility. We look forward to celebrating with our mateys safely and responsibly this April,” YMKG Captain Peter Lackman said to the press.