Jan 10, 2022 - Things to Do

🏴‍☠️ 2022 Gasparilla Pirate Festival "definitely on"

The Lafayette Street Bridge during Gasparilla 1922.
The Lafayette Street Bridge during Gasparilla 1922. Photo: Bergert Brothers Photographic Collection/Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System

An anxious sentiment has begun to rattle the residents of Tampatown as word circulated here that Jose Gasparilla, king of the lustiest pirates, was preparing for what could be his bloodiest attack yet later this month.

Driving the news: Several of the pirate king's prisoners, having escaped from his mysterious island haunt, made their way to the mainland by raft and immediately warned of the bloody butcher’s preparations, telling of royal arsenals and great mounds of pistols, dirks and daggers.

Yes, but: Tampa's maritime defenses are greatly weakened due to back-to-back boat parades to celebrate sports championships in 2021.

What's next: The invasion is planned for 11:30am on Jan. 19. Mayor Jane Castor has a history of welcoming the pirates, so Tampans should expect much pillaging and debauchery to follow the conquering.

  • In spite of recently climbing COVID cases, Tampa Mayor's office spokesperson Adam Smith and event organizers Ye Mystic Krewe both say the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is "definitely on. Get your beads ready. Let's hope COVID cooperates."

Flashback: Here's a look at Gasparilla in 1922.

Spectators on the Lafayette Street Bridge watch the Gasparilla invasion in 1922.
Spectators on the Lafayette Street Bridge watch the Gasparilla invasion in 1922. Photo: Bergert Brothers Photographic Collection/Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
Gasparilla XIV queen Lillie Wall Honacker.
Gasparilla XIV queen Lillie Wall Honacker. Photo: Bergert Brothers Photographic Collection/Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System

Editor's note: This story's headline has been corrected to reflect that this year's festival is not the 100th Gasparilla Pirate Festival.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more