Tips for a safe, fun Gasparilla 2014!

TAMPA, Fla. - Ahoy mateys! It's that time of year for pirates, parades, boats, beer, and you can't forget—beads.

On Jan. 25, the Pirate Fest will kick off at 10 a.m., then the much awaited "Invasion" of the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship will enter the south end of Hillsborough Bay at 11:30 a.m. The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates begins at 2 p.m. and lasts until 5:30 p.m. It begins at Bay to Bay Blvd. and Bayshore Blvd., continues down Bayshore Blvd. then turns east on Brorein St. and north on Ashley Dr. where it ends on Ashley Dr. and Cass St.

The Pirate Fest party continues in the streets of downtown Tampa until 10 p.m.

Last year, hundreds of thousands flooded Bayshore Boulevard for Gasparilla 2013, and 2014 is expected to be no different.

Whether it's your first time or you're a vet to the parade, here are some useful tips and reminders about one of Tampa's biggest traditions.

  1. Gasparilla is free, but you will want to bring plenty of cash for parking, food and others vendors – all of which only accept cash. There are ATMs available, but be mindful of additional fees. Tickets for reserved seats, brunches and additional offshoot events can range anywhere from $35 to $102. For details and to buy tickets: http://gasparillatreasures.com/

2. You don't want your good fun to be ruined because you broke any rules, so don't bring any of the following prohibited items:

-          Styrofoam cups or containers

-          Advertising of an any product or service

-          Glass containers of any sort (City Ordinance)

-          Coolers – Note: Small soft-sided cooler and lunch bags are permitted for childcare needs and medical needs only.

-          Contests or lotteries of any kind

-          Tents of any sort

-          Fence, stakes or rope (used by spectators to reserve space for parade viewing)

-          Sampling or give-away of any product or service

-          Selling any product or service

-          Solicitation or database development of any kind

-          Vehicles of any sort

-          Weapons of any sort

-          Illegal drugs of any sort

3. Keep in mind that your usual travel routes in the area may not be available due to road closures for the parade. For bicyclists, you can ride you bike to the event, but you must walk with your bikes within the street closures. 

For tips, check out the Frequently Asked Questions page on Gasparilla's website: http://gasparillapiratefest.com/faq.shtml

4. For parking, trolley, and bus information, click: http://gasparillapiratefest.com/parking.shtml

5. For public transportation to and from Gasparilla, check this link: http://gasparillapiratefest.com/assets2/2014-Bus-Trolley-Information.pdf.

For information about the history of Gasparilla, dating back to 1904, click here: http://gasparillapiratefest.com/history.shtml

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