Pirates, ships, rum?! I’m there! This past January, I attended one of the biggest festivals I have ever been to known as Gasparilla in Tampa, Florida. This festival originated from the late 1800’s when pirate Jose Gaspar terrorized West Florida around that time. One day, they decided to attack a boat that was in fact a disguised U.S. Navy warship. This war ended Gaspar and his thieving career. In the early 1900’s, officials decided to celebrate this victory by bringing a mock invasion to the bay. Since then, Gasparilla has been rounding about Florida locals, even out of towners, to enjoy the ships, festivities, and a plethora of pirate costumes.
I was fortunate to go with two of my great friends who made the trip unforgettable. Due to a delay at a previous Colorado trip, these flights were free for Leanne and me. Score! We flew in Friday night and stayed in Seminole Heights which was about 15 minutes from Downtown Tampa where the festival takes place. We got to our AirBnB and it was so cute, perfect, and saved us a ton of money. Saturday morning, we woke up and got all dolled up with our costumes. What I love about my friends is how much we love taking pictures, so we were able to find a mural close to our room and started our day off by feeling like divas.
We got to the festival waiting for the actual “invasion” to happen as it was advertised to start around 11:30AM… I honestly don’t even remember when it happened but I want to say it was later afternoon. But we were okay waiting, it was such a show for us. So many pirates, booze, games, everywhere. We started hearing shots, and we knew they were fireworks finally preparing us for the arrival of the boat as pictured above. It was awesome to see so many people just pumped up and enjoying the culture this part of Florida has.
Later in the evening, we went back to the hotel and got ready to go out in SoHo (South Howard Avenue). One of my friend’s suggested this as the hot spot and we chose McDinton’s Irish Pub and stayed there for hours. The lines were so long everywhere, we didn’t bother leaving. This bar was the epitome of college bar. Cheap drinks, huge patio, 3-4 bars, yet it was still so hard to get a drink. They had live bands throughout the night and knowing us, we were on the dance floor the majority of the night.
All in all, we got our pirate fix, and had a blast in Downtown Tampa that night. I highly recommend everyone go to Gasparilla at least once!
“Life’s pretty good, and why wouldn’t it be? I’m a pirate, after all.”