Safe Fun for Students at Gasparilla Parade of Pirates


Courtesy of

Viviana Burgos

On Saturday, Jan. 6, 2020, Tampa’s largest annual parade, the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates, will commence with hundreds of Bay Area residents and tourists celebrating the invasion of the pirates. 

The parade will last from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and will travel from Bay to Bay Boulevard to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. 

Gaither’s resource officer, Deputy J. McCarrell, has worked the parade in the past years and “the atmosphere is always pretty festive and people are having a good time,” McCarrell said. 

There will be a variety of beads tossed into the crowds from parade floats. However, Mayor Jane Castor issued a campaign, “#Beadfreebay,” to protect the marine life from beads that are tossed into the Hillsborough River.

Tips for Students

  • Find a meeting place

With the large crowds, limited cell service is likely, so students should go with a group of friends and pick a spot to meet in case anyone in the group gets lost.

  • Don’t trespass on private property

“There’s a lot more eyes than they [students] realize,” McCarrell said. So it’s discouraged for teens to take part in illegal activity.

There is a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking, and law enforcement will be keeping their eyes open for unusual behavior.  

  • Park in the designated parking garages 

All around Tampa there are public parking garages that will be open for $10 per vehicle. Some garages include the Tampa Convention Center Garage, Fort Brooke Garage, William F. Poe Garage, however due to the parade route, the garage will be closed from 1 to 6 p.m. so no entry or exit.

There is also a free Streetcar that will take you from Ybor to the event. 

If anything, call an Uber or Lyft to avoid walking long distances to get to Bayshore boulevard.

  • Wear appropriate clothing

It’s typical for attendees to wear pirate-themed outfits but it is best to dress in accordance with the weather.