When I first went to the Gasparilla Festival, I was truly living in amazement. All I could think of was Mardi Gras. I honestly never went to Mardi Gras, but parades, beads, fun, happiness is what I pictured, and there I was. Gasparilla was filled with endless music, parties, parades, and beads, lots of beads. Celebration, glee, happiness all over the place, fun for all ages. There were people everywhere whether they were on the street, cheering the parade floats on, or they were on their boats, having a grand ball of a time. This was Gasparilla for me.
I then looked up what truly was Gasparilla and what it meant. This festival was named after Jose Gaspar, a notorious pirate in the 1800’s and 1900’s. He had a rough, blood thirsty soul to him, and it was reported he burned 36 ships during his first 12 years as a pirate. In 1904, Miss Louisa Frances Dodge planned the first Gasparilla Festival. This was a festival that included a mock invasion of a pirate ship. Since then, Gasparilla has been a Tampa tradition.
This January 18, 2014 weekend, the Gasparilla Celebration will start up again. First will come the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza this weekend. Next weekend, January 25, 2014 will be the Gasparilla Pirate Festival.