“Land, ho! Hoist the mizzen ‘n’ set sail for Tampa!”
Shouts from the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar and his band of marauding buccaneers will ring out across the waters of Hillsborough Bay as they return to invade the City of Tampa.
On Saturday, January 26, at 11:30 a.m., the world’s only fully-rigged pirate ship, the Jose Gasparilla, will magically appear at the south end of Hillsborough Bay. A multitude of pleasure crafts, all intent on defending the city, will boldly sail forth to meet the ship. But quickly seeing the error of their ways, they turn to join forces with the Captain and his Krewe’s flotilla. The colorful Gasparilla Flotilla then makes its way north across Hillsborough Bay and into Seddon Channel (channel between Davis Island & Harbour Island). The Gasparilla Invasion has begun!
Amidst a volley of cannon fire, the City is defenseless.
In this annual re-enactment of Tampa’s historic pirate invasion, the Gasparilla Flotilla – led by the Jose Gasparilla teeming from bow to stern and capstan to crow’s nest with swashbuckling YMKG pirates – creates a spectacular sight as she heads up Seddon Channel towards downtown Tampa. When the Jose Gasparilla docks at the Tampa Convention Center (at 1 p.m.), the Mayor will surrender the Key to the City of Tampa into the hands of the Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.
With the Key to the City in their hands, the jolly Krewe will launch their victory celebration in the Parade of the Pirates down Bayshore Boulevard.
The invasion portion is free to the public. Tickets are available for Gasparilla Brunch at Gasparilla Treasures™.