Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to break out the pirate costumes, line Bayshore Boulevard, and beg for beads Saturday for the Children's Gasparilla Parade and Jan. 25 for the Gasparilla Pirate Fest.
Started in 1904, the annual event commemorates the legendary Spanish pirate Jose Gaspar, who, according to some stories, plundered the Gulf of Mexico before leaping from his ship with an anchor tied to his hips to avoid capture by the U.S. Navy.
Over 100 years later, the parades are still a Tampa Bay tradition.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the parades are a signature event for the city.
"It's just such an integral part of our history," said Castor. "It signifies the diversity in our city, the inclusion, and really how we just like to celebrate - celebrate our diversity, celebrate good times and celebrate together."
LEARN MORE about the history of Gasparilla from a 2019 Florida Matters episode
This Saturday's activities start at 11 a.m. at Bay to Bay and Bayshore, with the parade itself starting at 3:30 p.m.
On Jan. 25, WWE wrestler and Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista will share grand marshal duties with Tampa police Lt. Travis Maus for the Parade of Pirates.
The pirate invasion will begin with the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship docking at the Tampa Convention Center at 1 p.m.
The parade will begin at 2.p.m. at the intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and Bay to Bay Boulevard. The pirates will then head north on Bayshore before ending their invasion downtown at Cass Street and Ashley Drive.
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority will have continuous streetcar service with extended hours from 8:30 a.m. till 2 a.m. Parade goers can ride the streetcars for free or snag an all-day bus pass for $4. HART will also provide free shuttle service between popular parking lots and bus terminals from 9:30 a.m. till 7 p.m.
Gasparilla Children's Parade Road Closure Schedule
Saturday, January 11, 2020 – Thursday, January 30, 2020
Close Bayshore Blvd. Crossovers at DeSoto Ave., Nance Ave., Albany Ave. and Gunby Ave.
Saturday, January 18, 2020 @ 2:00 a.m.
Close Bayshore Blvd. Northbound from Bay-to-Bay to Rome Ave.
Saturday, January 18, 2020 @ 6:30 a.m.
Close Bayshore Blvd. from Gandy Blvd. to Platt St. Close Bay to Bay Blvd. from Ysabella Ave. to Bayshore Blvd.
Close Davis Island Bridge off-ramp onto Northbound Bayshore Blvd.
Saturday, January 18, 2020 @ 9:00 a.m.
Close one Eastbound Lane and one Westbound Lane on Bay to Bay Blvd. from MacDill Ave. to Ysabella Ave. (to accommodate Pedestrian Walkway)
Saturday, January 18, 2020 @ 4:30 p.m.
Close Eastbound Bay-to-Bay Blvd. at MacDill Ave
Gasparilla Pirate Fest Road Closures
Saturday, January 11 – Thursday, January 30, 2020
Bayshore Blvd Crossover Closure at DeSoto Ave, Nance Ave, Albany Ave & Gunby Ave
Friday, January 24, 2020 @ 10:00 PM
Bayshore Blvd from Gandy Blvd to Platt St
Bay to Bay from Bayshore Blvd to Ysabella St
Davis Island Bridge Off-Ramp onto NB Bayshore Dr
Saturday, January 25, 2020 @ 3:00 AM
Bayshore Blvd from Brorein St to Platt St
Platt St/Channelside Dr from Plant Ave to Franklin St
Saturday, January 25, 2020 @ 5:30 AM
Crosstown- EB Willow Ave Off-Ramp (Exit 4)
Willow Ave from Platt St to Swann Ave (SB lanes closed only, 1-way NB)
Saturday, January 25, 2020 @ 7:00 AM
Ashley Dr from Brorein St to Jackson St
Brorein St from Florida Ave to Parker St
Franklin St from Channelside Dr to Harbour Island Bridge
Old Water St from Florida Ave to Franklin St
Washington St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Whiting St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Whiting St from Florida Ave to Franklin St (WB)
Saturday, January 25, 2020 @ 9:00 AM
Kennedy from Hyde Park Ave to Ashley Dr (EB)
Ashley Dr from Cass St to Jackson St
Jackson St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Kennedy Blvd from Florida Ave to Plant Ave (WB)
Madison St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Madison St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Twiggs St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Twiggs St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Zack St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Zack St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Polk St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Polk St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Tyler St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Saturday, January 25, 2020 @ 11:00 AM
Cass St from Willow Ave to N Blvd
North A St from Willow Ave to Newport Ave
North B St from Willow Ave to Newport Ave
Fig St from Willow Ave to Gilchrist Ave
Carmen St from Willow Ave to Delaware Ave
Newport Ave from Cass St to North A St
Gilchrist Ave from Cass St to Fig St
Cass St from N Blvd to Ashley Dr (EB)
Saturday, January 25, 2020 @ 1:30 PM
Cass St from N Blvd to Tampa St
Tyler St from Tampa St to Cass St
Saturday, January 25, 2020 @ 3:00 PM
Bay-to-Bay Blvd from MacDill Ave to Ysabella Ave (EB)
Swann Ave from MacDill Ave to Armenia Ave (EB lanes closed only, 1-way WB)
Platt St at Howard Ave (EB)
Platt St at S Blvd (EB)
Willow Ave from Kennedy Blvd to Cleveland St
Willow Ave from Cleveland St to Platt St (SB)
South Blvd from Kennedy Blvd to Cleveland St
South Blvd from Cleveland St to Platt St (SB)
Whiting St from Tampa St to Franklin St
Saturday, January 25, 2020 @ 4:30 PM
Kennedy Blvd at Himes Ave (EB)
Kennedy Blvd at MacDill Ave (EB)
Kennedy Blvd at Howard Ave (EB)
Kennedy Blvd at Willow Ave (EB)
Kennedy Blvd at Blvd (EB)
Public Transit and Shuttle Service Options
TECO Line Streetcar System
- Continuous streetcar service from 8:30 a.m.- 2:00 a.m.
- For parking in Ybor City, Station #2 (Centro Ybor) is your best bet to the event with Stations #3 and #4 CLOSED from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. A FREE bus shuttle will be provided (details below).
HART Bus Service
- An all-day pass is $4, which may be purchased in advance at HART retail outlets or on board buses on Gasparilla Day with cash only (no change provided). Passengers may also use their monthly bus pass.
- For parking in Ybor City, HART will provide FREE bus shuttle service between Station #3 (Streetcar Society Station) and Station #4 (Cadrecha Station) and downtown Tampa (Station #10 - Dick Greco Plaza) continuously from 9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- For parking at the Port Authority Parking Garage, HART will be providing FREE bus shuttle service to/from Station #10 (Dick Greco Plaza) continuously from 9:30 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Getting to Downtown Tampa on HART
- From University Area: Routes 1*, 5, 6, 9, 12, 275LX, MetroRapid
- From Temple Terrace: Route 6
- From New Tampa/Wiregrass: Route 275LX
- From Brandon: Routes 8, 360LX*
- From West Tampa/Citrus Park: Route 7*
- From South Tampa: Routes 19*, 360LX*
- From Tampa International: Routes 30*, 60LX