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Gasparilla 2022: Everything you need to know about the annual Pirate Fest

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Posted at 4:12 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 08:54:37-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Ahoy, mateys! The 2022 Gasparilla Pirate Fest is returning in January to invade Hillsborough Bay.

Following last year’s canceled events, the 2022 Gasparilla parades will be ready for a swashbuckling good time. Pirate accents and eye patches will be aplenty and parking and traffic will be busy. Here's everything you need to know about the annual throw-down.

The 2022 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Saturday, January 22

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Rodeo: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Located on Bayshore Boulevard, between Rome Avenue and Dakota Avenue, the Bicycle Rodeo is free to participate and does not require registration. Participants will be fitted with a free, brand new bicycle helmet they can keep (while supplies last). They then hop on one of the Rodeo's bicycles and traverse through a mini traffic course that teaches bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Gasparilla Air Invasion: 12 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Turn your eyes to the skies as the Gasparilla Air Invasion is back with it's largest airshow yet! With civilian aerobatic teams, vintage military aircraft and the US SOCOM Parachute Demonstration Team, the show is sure to impress aviation enthusiasts and novices alike.

Gasparilla Preschoolers’ Stroll: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. 

Beginning at Howard Avenue and ending at Rome Avenue, the Gasparilla Preschooler's Stroll features Tampa Bay's youngest pirates. Children five and under can strut their stuff along beautiful Bayshore Boulevard. Check out specially decorated wagons, bicycles and strollers and the best little pirate attire in the fastest-growing Gasparilla tradition.

Children’s Gasparilla Parade: 3:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Widely considered the largest children's event in the country, the Children's Gasparilla Parade begins at Bay to Bay and Bayshore Boulevard. Pirates, floats, marching bands and more proceed north along Bayshore Boulevard before ending at Edison Avenue.

Gasparilla Nighttime Air Invasion: 6 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Continue the airshow fun during twilight hours with the Gasparilla Nighttime Air Invasion. The performances take flight at dusk and include a precision parachute jump from the United States Special Operation Jump Team and Ghostwriter Airshows' signature fireworks flight!

“Piratechnic Finale”: 6:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

What do you get when you combine pirates and pyrotechnics - Piratechnics, of course! This "Piratechnic" firework finale recreates the imaginary battle between the pirates of YMKG and the City of Tampa. The annual "battle" began in 1904, and the pirates remain undefeated to this day! Children's Gasparilla's colorful finale sets the scene for the energetic Gasparilla Pirate Fest scheduled for the following Saturday.

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The 2022 Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest kicks off on Saturday, January 29.

Gasparilla Invasion: 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The only fully-rigged pirate ship in the world, the Jose Gasparilla, emerges at the south end of Hillsborough Bay followed by hundreds if not thousands of boats.

The vibrant Gasparilla Flotilla then makes its way across Hillsborough Bay and into Seddon Channel (between Davis Island & Harbour Island) and the Gasparilla Invasion has begun!

Amidst a volley of cannon fire, the City is defenseless. In this annual re-enactment of Tampa’s historic pirate invasion, the Gasparilla Flotilla – led by the Jose Gasparilla filled to the crow’s nest with swashbuckling YMKG pirates – creates a spectacular sight.

When the Jose Gasparilla docks at the Tampa Convention Center (1 p.m.), the Mayor of Tampa surrenders the Key to the City to the Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

With the Key to the City in hand, the Krewe celebrates their victory in a Parade of Pirates down Bayshore Boulevard.

Gasparilla Parade: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

To celebrate their capture of the City of Tampa, the Captain and his Krewe share their wealth – glittering beads, treasures and doubloons – with a lively, enthusiastic crowd all along the 4.5 -mile parade route.

“Make way, mateys!” shout Tampa’s original buccaneers as they wind their way down historic Bayshore Boulevard and into downtown Tampa – amidst colorful costumes and festive music. The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates will boast 103 elaborate floats, five marching bands, over 50 distinct Krewes and, of course, those infamous YMKG pirates!

The parade begins at Bay to Bay and Bayshore Boulevard. It continues along Bayshore Boulevard to Brorein Street, turns east on Brorein Street, then north on Ashley Drive. The parade ends at Cass Street and Ashley Drive.

This event is free to the public.

Gasparilla Pirate Fest

An expanded Pirate Fest in 2022 will feature stages along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa, with live entertainment pre and post parade in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (Ashley and Twiggs), and MacDill Park (Ashley and Whiting).

MACDILL PARK STAGE (98 ROCK):

  • 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.    DJ/STATION MUSIC
  • 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.     NOVA REX
  • 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.     Break for Parade of the Pirates
  • 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.     NOVA REX

CURTIS HIXON PARK STAGE

  • 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.      DJ / STATION MUSIC 
  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.      SOL CARIBE 
  • 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.       Break for Parade of the Pirates 
  • 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.       CALIENTE BAND

PARKING

If you need help with parking, the City of Tampa has provided maps on where you can park for the pirate celebration.

Click here for more parking information.