Gasparilla’s first all-female Krewe celebrates its 30th anniversary

Pirate crew women
Posted at 4:54 AM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 15:56:46-05

TAMPA, Fla. — This year Gasparilla’s first all-female Krewe celebrates its 30th anniversary. During that time, the Krewe of Grace O’Malley has grown to more than 350 members and multiple generations.

They continue to prove, year after year, that women can be pirates, too.

“For little girls to see that and to grow up to want to be that you couldn’t ask for anything better, what a role model, we have a Krewe full of them,” said Karla Graziano.

Graziano is so proud of their newly refurbished float, Rockfleet, named after one of the castles Grace O’Malley lived in.

“Grace O’Malley was an Irish pirate back in the 1600s which is why we wear the dresses we wear,” said Graziano.

For Jeanne Rowe, riding on a float like this was once only a dream.

“I remember when I was a child and I went to the parade with my parents and I remember telling my dad I was going to be a pirate one day and he said, ‘Jeanne only men can be pirates,’ well we showed him,” said Rowe.

Rowe is one of several members to also have a daughter on the Krewe.

“It’s a lot of fun to do the parade with my mom, we get to throw beads together and see the city in a different way,” said Jenna Lee Hughes.

Then there’s Grace O’Malley’s ship, The Queen of the Sea, another float that will be filled with ladies of grace, like Rachel Floyd and her mother Kelly.

“There’s nothing like it, I feel so lucky that I get to share this with her every year, really day to day because we’re so involved,” said Rachel.

The Krewe said with all the fun also comes the responsibility to give back. This year their charity of choice is Habitat for Humanity.

“This group of ladies, we’re powerful, we’re strong and we’re even better when we are all together,” said Hannah Hall.

So when you’re watching the parade remember — real pirates wear dresses.

“People recognize our Krewe, they recognize our dresses, they look for us on the parade route because when there is 200 of us dressed like this coming down the parade route it’s really a sight to see,” said Graziano.