Gasparilla Guide 2020

Another year has come and with that, the future of our city is at the mercy of the pirate invaders.


Happy New Year, Tampa! It's now January, and that can only mean one thing... It's GASPARILLA season! This is the most important season for the city of Tampa. Now, for those of you who are looking for information, or simply looking to impress your friends, lets discuss the details of Gasparilla.

Dates

January 18, 2020, 11:00am: The Gasparilla Children's Parade

January 25, 2020, 11:00am: Gasparilla Pirate Festival

February 8, 2020, 7:00pm: Gasparilla Knight of Sant Yago Parade

February 29, 2020, 2:00pm: Gasparilla Outbound Voyage

Price

Gasparilla has, is, and will always be a free event to attend, hosted by the City of Tampa. Upgrades are available to add to the experience, and other aspects of the parade (parking, alcohol, food, etc) will cost money, but the parade itself is free. If you are looking for upgrades to this event, the best place to find them is the official Gasparilla website.



Parking

This will be the most difficult answer to give. What I have done in the past, and what I strongly suggest, is the park in Ybor and to take the city bus there and back. In the past, there have been bundles worked out that cost about $10-15. I have heard absolutely nothing about this year, however. There is also the option of street parking. Just keep in mind that everyone else going to Gasparilla will have the same idea as you. Also, when discussing parking, we should also warn that this event encourages a lot of drinking. You may want to think twice about driving at all. Lyft, Uber, Taxi, the street car are all options to get to and from Downtown Tampa. If you would like a list of parking garages nearby, Tampa did put a list together and you can check it out Here.

Where do I watch the parade?

There is no right answer here. What I can tell you is that if you're closer to the start of the parade (closer to Gandy), you will have access to more beads that are thrown and the parade will end a lot sooner for you. If you are closer to Downtown Tampa, the parade will end a lot later, but the supplies will dwindle down as well (not as many beads, if that's your thing). The best place I have found to watch the parade is at the Publix on Bayshore's parking lot. The bathrooms are kept stocked and clean, the store is open (if you run out of beer), they have a sub station set up outside, it's closer to the end of the parade route, and it's not as crazy as the beginning/middle of the parade. Outside of that, this is also where the local radio stations set up their tents (if that's your thing).

Costumes



If you're going to go to Gasparilla, you have to do it right. And, while I would love to tell you how that's done, I feel like I did a much better job two years ago, so I'll simply copy and paste that.

"If you're going to go to Gasparilla, you have to do it right! There are a couple of ways to do this:

1) You can go dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and let everyone know that you're a tourist and/or don't take this event seriously. Seriously, don't be that person!


2) Go to your local Party City and buy a cheap costume you'll probably never wear again and let people know that you take this event slightly more seriously than the common folk. If that's up your alley, Men's Costumes and Women's Costumes. I trust from there you'll be able to find children's and, if needed, plus size costumes.
3) Show your dedication to this city and our traditions by buying a fully customized costume. My two favorite places to go for Gasparilla are Anarchist Closet and La France. I will say this: When completing a fully custom costume, be prepared to shop around. Many stores will be out of the piece that you need, some wont carry the size that you need, and some just carry garbage. Also, you get what you pay for. The coat I'm wearing above (Pirate Fashions) was worn for both the Day Parade and Knight Parade, and it tore both times I wore it. Your mileage may vary, but I'm going to throw the warning out there."




Proceedures

As a representative of this great city, I do have to tell you that coolers, wagons, chairs, etc are "strictly prohibited."

As a Tampa resident, I have to state that this is complete and utter nonsense. Here's the deal: be courteous. Don't walk through people's yards, don't use their yards as your bathroom, don't leave your trash laying around, don't puke on yards, and don't pass out in yards. Gasparilla has been around for over 100 years now and we want to keep it around for as long as Tampa is a city. Be respectful of everyone around you. I will also state that, outside of the children's parade, Gasparilla is not a family friendly event. You have been warned.

Also, be sure you are aware of the games that the Street preachers play. Don't get suckered into it.

Most importantly, have fun! Gasparilla is meant to get people out into the world and interact. Go out, make friends, have some drinks, eat some food, catch some beads... The world is your oyster.

What is your favorite Gasparilla parade? How many beads did you catch last year? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt. Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. If you'd like to meet other people who love Tampa, consider joining our Facebook Group. Thank you all and I will see you next time!

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