The crowds were thick and hungry for beads all along Bayshore Boulevard for the 2014 Gasparilla invasion.
The Gasparilla Pirate Fest, Tampa's largest annual street party, shivered our timbers Saturday along Bayshore Boulevard. Thousands of people gathered to see the parade, catch beads and party.
The nearly perfect weather brought huge crowds to the 2014 invasion.
Paradegoers getting in the spirit just before the parade pose for a picture on Bayshore Boulevard
For a pirate the day begins early at the Tampa Yacht Club where dozens of makeup artists help them prepare for a day of revelry. Once they are scarred and blooded enough they swagger and stagger to the awaiting Jose Gaspar pirate ship at Ballast Point pier to make the trip across Hillsborough Bay to downtown where the street party begins. The boat is joined on the journey by dozens of private vessels and party boats.
Britt Guyer who has been in the crew for three years get scars on his face from makeup artist Lacey Harper.
Pirate ship Jose Gaspar is moored at the end of Ballast Point pier awaiting its annual journey across Hillsborough Bay.
The pirate ship Jose Gaspar loaded with pirates arrives in downtown Tampa following its trek across Hillsborough Bay. After the crew got off they demanded the key to the city from Mayor Bob Buckhorn, triggering the start the annual invasion parade down Bayshore Blvd.
Give me the big ones! Beads rule the day, the bigger the better..
The parade lasted for over three hours with dozens of organizations, marching bands, and floats participating. Alexandra Wallmueller from West Palm Beach gets the stamped seal of approval from a Ye Mystic Krewe member. Recently flashing has been strongly discouraged by law enforcement and cleavage stamping is now in vogue.
Eva Summerfield, 94, who has been to five or six parades, dressed the part for the annual invasion.
While open container laws may have been confusing, there were a lot of libations along the parade route.
Over the last several years the city has been cracking down on open containers during the parade. In the 2014 parade planning the City of Tampa
gave clearly defined alcohol consumption boundaries, but it is impractical to think those attending the parade would know where those specific boundaries lie. The general rule was no under aged drinking and open containers were only allowed inside the event area and along the parade route, but not in the neighborhoods, where some of the event occurs.
Pirate Ray King made up and ready to party. King, who is a member of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, joined hundreds of other pirates in the parade on Saturday.
Camila Rodriguez enjoys a cigar. Rodriguez says she only smokes them on special occasions like Gasparilla
Fun and romance were in the air along the parade route.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn in skull and cross bones print pants and Dr. Catherine Lynch encouraged the crowd to scream for beads.
Grand Marshal Master Sgt. Mack McKenzie, who was critically wounded Fallujah in 2004, is now with the Care Coalition U.S. Special Operations Command.
I heart Gasparilla. Kristi Krause in downtown Tampa exhibits her thoughts about the annual invasion
2014 Gasparilla King Philip Carroll and Queen Colleen Pizzo on the Royal float.
Hundreds of seats went empty along the parade route preventing parade goers from being close to the action
Along the parade route there were sections that divided those attending. Reserved seating was available but hundreds of seats went unfilled. According to the event's website
, bench seats like the ones pictured sold for $35.51 each. For a family of four attending the parade that cost pushes the $150 mark. Without a ticket those attempting to see the parade did so through a chain link fence. Corporate sponsored sections with tents covered much of the grassy areas along Bayshore Boulevard and some of the fenced off real estate was empty leaving some paradegoers wondering if it could be used by those wishing to get a closer view of the parade. Corporate rates for tents were not available.
After the parade a concert was held at Curtis Hixon Park featuring several acts, food trucks, and a musical and to the day of partying
To wrap up the day ther was an after-party and concert at Curtis Hixon Park. From 5:30 p.m. — 6 p.m. there was a DJ from 93.3 FLZ, 6 p.m. — 7:45 p.m. C’NERGY Band, and 8 p.m. — 9:55 p.m. Daniel B. Marshal.
By 7 p.m. the city of Tampa Solid Waste Department was already working cleaning up the tons of trash left behind by paradegoers.
The cleanup begins right after the parade ends. By 8 p.m. much of the parade fence was gone and the city's solid waste department was getting Bayshore cleaned up.
Haven't had enough Gasparilla? Don't forget about The Krewe of the Knights of Sant' Yago Parade is coming to Ybor City on Sat., Feb. 8. The fun begins at 7 p.m.