TAMPA, Fla. — The decision to cancel Tampa’s iconic pirate invasion will have a direct impact on several small businesses in Tampa Bay.
Organizers made the announcement on Tuesday, citing coronavirus concerns.
“We have a responsibility to keep people safe,” said Anne Bartlett. “Both the people who attend the parade and the people who are in the parade.”
Bartlett owns South Tampa Trading Company and is also a longtime member of Ye Loyal Krewe of Grace O’ Malley.
The South Tampa shop specializes in everything Gasparilla.
Bartlett says she’s thankful organizers are taking the pandemic seriously. However, she’s concerned for many local businesses that will take a hit with no parade this year.
“People who are caterers, people who help with the parties that are put on, it is all kinds of different businesses. I just encourage people to reach out and help their small businesses," Bartlett said.
For now, Bartlett is helping parade-goers prepare with custom-made costumes, well in advance of 2022.
“We’re not going anywhere,” said Bartlett. “We’re going to see if we can’t come back bigger and better.”