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Many of you spent the day at the Children's Parade, but do you know how the celebrations began?

5:30 PM, Jan 21, 2012   |    comments
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The Gasparilla Children's Parade has changed a lot since 1947.

TAMPA, Fla. - For more than 100 years, Tampa Bay has celebrated Gasparilla. Many lined the streets Saturday for the Children's Parade. But do you know how it all began? Here's a history lesson.

A lot has changed since the first Gasparilla in 1904. What started as a May Day parade has grown into the Gasparilla season.

Photo Gallery: Historic Children's Parade Photos

"Gasparilla has been around for 108 years, so something that has that kind of tradition really grows and becomes a part of the community," says Rodney Kite-Powell, curator at the Tampa Bay History Center.

The Children's Parade began in 1947. It was literally a parade of the pirates' children and school groups. But the history of that parade dates back almost 100 years.

"Way back in 1914 on the 10th anniversary of Gasparilla, there was, a few days before, a pre-parade of 3,000 school children," says Kite-Powell.

Before it became the extravaganza it is today, the Children's Parade was much smaller. In fact, it didn't even run along Bayshore Boulevard.

Kite-Powell says originally it just went through downtown. "But it was moved to Bayshore in 2002, and for a lot of people, it's the alternative to the big day parade."

That big day parade used to be on a Monday, with the children's parade on a Sunday, but had to be changed to Saturday, when Tampa Bay started to get Super Bowls.

So even though a lot has changed, the celebrations are still the same.

"It's really interesting to see how that tradition has played out over the past 100 plus years and really knowing it has every potential to last another hundred years," says Kite-Powell.

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