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Gasparilla, Tampa's Signature Pirate Event, Canceled This Year

A pirate ship decorated with multi colored flags sails on the Hillsborough River in a cloud of canon smoke.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
Gasparilla festivities were canceled for 2021 after being rescheduled earlier this year. Photo from Gasparilla 2018.

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla officials said it was the best way to make sure the event happened "efficiently and safely."

Tampa's signature pirate invasion event, Gasparilla, has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The festivities, which draw hundreds of thousands of people every year, were originally scheduled for January and February. They were rescheduled to April and May due to concerns about spreading the virus during mass activities.

RELATED CONTENT: Gasparilla Parades Postponed Due To Coronavirus Concerns

There have been more than 1.8 million cases of the coronavirus in Florida since the start of the pandemic, and more than 29,000 deaths. About 7 million people in the U.S. have had confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 485,000 have died of COVID-19.

RELATED CONTENT: How Severe Is Your State's Coronavirus Outbreak?

We hoped to safely and effectively hold Children's Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay and Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest, but believe it is our community's best interest to refrain from hosting festivities this year. The pirate invasion will continue in 2022, with the excitement and revelry that Tampa Bay has come to know and love."
Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Captain Peter Lackman

This year's cancellation of Gasparilla festivities is not the first in event history. Over the past 107 years, parades were not held for numerous reasons, including when the city had limited public celebrations or during wartimes.

The Children's Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay will be held on on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, and the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. The closing event, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's Outbound Voyage, will set sail on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.

What ticket holders need to know:

Tickets for the 2021 Children's Gasparilla and Gasparilla Pirate Fest are eligible for a refund, or ticket purchasers can elect to roll over a credit on their account to 2022 festivities.

Ticket holders who choose to keep the credit on their account will receive an additional 15% bonus in value that can be used towards the purchase of tickets or merchandise.

Ticket holders can also opt to donate the value of their tickets to the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Community Fund, which supports scholarships for exceptional high school seniors in the Tampa Bay area, community food programs, and more.

Ticket holders will receive further information by email or can contact office@eventfest.com or (813) 251-8844.

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.
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