Since the early 1900’s, Tampa residents have been invaded by the mythical pirate Jose Gaspar and his krewe. The invasion, now known as Gasparilla, has grown since its beginning days into a variety of parades, numerous festivals and several races.
Growing up in the Tampa Bay area, it is understood that residents should participate in the Gasparilla festivities at least once in their lifetime. I’ve attended my share of parades during my college days, but the memories are a little fuzzy.
This year, my family and I attended the Gasparilla Children’s Parade for our first time. The girls are I dressed in our best pirate outfits, although we were undressed compared to the many Captain Jacks, buccaneers, wenches and other pirates swashbuckling through the streets. I was just happy that my booty could still fit into my Nilla Shields Gasparilla shorts.
Other than watching the Macy’s Day parade every Thanksgiving on TV, my girls have never seen a parade up-close prior to last weekend. Seeing the pirate ships and all the fantastic floats was quite a thrill for my girls.
We never told Allana and Emmalynn what to expect or about the bountiful of beads that would be thrown into the crowds. Soon enough, Allana and Emmalynn were blown away by the pirate ships’ cannons firing beads and the people on the floats who pitched beads at all the bystanders. It was a child’s paradise and my pretty little pirates quickly learned the best ways to catch their treasure.
Emmalynn had the best spot to score a lot of beads sitting on Daddy’s shoulders.
Allana preferred a spot pressed up against the parade barricade.
At the end of the evening, both my pretty pirates had quite the booty.
And despite not feeling well and the absence of rum, even Allan really enjoyed himself too.