It’s Time for Gasparilla!


Isabel Hanewicz

Police officer Veronica Hamilton gave a presentation to seniors today about Gasparilla, which is this weekend. The parade, which is over 100 years old, draws over 30,000 people to the streets of Tampa Bay, bringing in 46 million dollars of economic revenue for the area annually.

The Gasparilla Pirate Fest, the biggest of the Gasparilla events, is Saturday, January 25th. The parade starts at two o’clock on Bay-to-Bay and Bayshore Boulevard, goes over the Brorein Street Bridge into Downtown Tampa, and down Ashley, ending near Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, where there will be music, entertainment, and food.

Gasparilla festivities will continue through the month of February. On Saturday, February 8th, there will be the Krewe of Sant’ Yago Knight Parade, held at 7:00 at night in Ybor City. On February 22nd and 23rd, the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic Races will be held, with the 15k and 5k on Saturday the 22nd and the half marathon and 8k on Sunday the 23rd.

With that in mind, here are some safety tips from Hamilton:

  • Police and vendors will be checking ID’s for alcoholic beverages.
  • Keep in mind the Zero Tolerance Policy- police are not given discretion and are required to arrest or cite violators due to Quality of Life Issues, Disruptive Behavior or Underage Drinking.
  • Flashing/Nudity for Beads, Failure to Use the Port-a-lets, Property Damage, Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, Public Intoxication, and Underage Drinking all fall under the Zero-Tolerance Policy.
  • Have a plan in advance where you will park, keeping in mind some streets will be unable to park on.
  • Pick a meeting place in case you are separated from your group.
  • Remember: “See something, say something.

Hamilton stressed that she, along with Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Chief of  Police Jane Castor, stressed that Gasparilla would be a safe and enjoyable experience for all. “We want you to come out and enjoy yourselves, to invite your families for some good, clean, fun,” said Hamilton.