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Cold drizzle doesn't discourage pirates, young and old, from Children's Gasparilla

2022 marks the 75th year since Children's Gasparilla officially began
Kid pirate
Posted at 3:03 PM, Jan 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-23 10:41:53-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Hundreds of children and their families joined in on a big celebration Saturday for this year's Children's Gasparilla parade.

Kids lined up all along the 1.5 mile route on Bayshore Boulevard to get a glimpse of the glittering floats, hear the music, and of course, catch some beads.

“I’ve never been here to the Gasparilla parade, and I am excited to see all the cool floats and just have a good time," said Grace Ryan.

Children's Gasparilla celebrated its 75th anniversary, a Tampa tradition since 1947. Last year with COVID-19 widespread, Gasparilla events were canceled, but families explained how excited they were to have fun at the family-friendly event yet again.

“I’ve got a bunch of beads, and I’m planning to give some of them away to other kids who don’t have beads," said Paige Dobbins.

It was cold and it was rainy, but to Andy Cox and his two sons, Tampa Police Department’s Bicycle Rodeo was too much fun to miss.

Saturday morning, dressed in pirate costumes, Ryan, who’s 11 years old, and Aaron, 7, took turns navigating a bicycle obstacle course with the help of Tampa officers.

They were first in line to test their skills and even learn some new ones.

“This is his first time, actually, riding a bike without training wheels,” said Cox of his younger son, Aaron.

“Bicycle crashes happen too often, and when you’re not readily equipped with helmets and all the knowledge on how to ride safely, it increases your risk of crashing and injuring yourself,” explained Officer Charlie Moyer, with Tampa Police Department’s bicycle squad, who helped coordinate the bicycle rodeo. “Bicycle fatalities in Florida have always been pretty high. We want people, children especially, to be aware that they’re the small object on the road.”

That event was just one of several that led up to the Ashley Children’s Gasparilla Presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay parade.

Just down Bayshore Boulevard, pirate preschoolers also got in on the fun with a stroll down a section of the boulevard. It was their chance to enjoy the season of celebration and tradition. The day of fun turned into an evening of fireworks, marking a successful celebration.

To Cox and his kids, even with the rain and cold, they’d show up regardless.

“This day brings our families together, and you feel like it’s been a real pleasure to be able to bring us closer to the people in the City of Tampa, and we just have a lot of fun when we come,” said Cox.

Kids gasparilla 2022
Kids gasparilla
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