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Pirates take over city of Tampa in annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival

The pirates successfully invaded the city of Tampa.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. — Ahoy, Mateys! The city of Tampa belongs to the pirates now.

Pirates invaded downtown Tampa Saturday in the 2022 Gasparilla Pirate Festival. It was an exciting day after Gasparilla was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Earlier in the day, Jose Gasparilla krewe arrived at the Tampa Convention Center and successfully retrieved the key from Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. Shiver me timbers!

And to celebrate the successful takeover, the pirates celebrated their invasion with a parade in downtown Tampa.

RELATED: 5 arrested during Gasparilla pirate invasion Saturday

Check out some pictures from the festival:

Here's a breakdown of how the festival went:

Gasparilla Invasion

The all-day festival kicked off with the invasion of pirates on the fully-rigged pirate ship Jose Gasparilla.

After the ship sailed up to the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor surrendered the key to the city to Captain Peter Lackman of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

With the key in hand, the krewe celebrated their victory in a parade of pirates down Bayshore Boulevard.

The Jose Gasparilla began sailing at noon Saturday from Port Tampa Bay.

The ship sailed up the Ybor Channel, around Harbour Island and into the Seddon Channel toward the Tampa Convention Center. That's where, at 1 p.m., the pirates demanded Castor surrender the key to the city.

People were advised not to take part in the invasion on the water this year given the forecast of high winds and rough water.

RELATED: 'It's perfect': Tampa celebrates Gasparilla's return despite cold

Gasparilla Parade of Pirates

After capturing the city of Tampa, there's no better way to celebrate than a big parade in downtown Tampa!

Pirates invaded the streets to shower the crowds with treasures along the 4.5-mile parade route at 2 p.m.

The parade began at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard before continuing down Bayshore Boulevard.

Floats headed down Brorein Street before taking the parade east onto Ashley Drive and ended at the intersection with Cass Street.

The Gasparilla Parade of Pirates featured more than 140 units, including 103 elaborate floats, five marching bands and 50 distinct Krewes.

People of the Tampa Bay area were able to watch the parade from the sidelines and catch the treasures to fill their shoulders with necklaces.

Along with the main events, there were stages placed along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa with live entertainment pre and post parade in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Parl and MacDill Park, the event's website explains.

Here's a look a who took the stage during the parade:


  • DJ/STATION MUSIC — 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Shawn Scheller and the Contenders — 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.     
  • Break for Parade of the Pirates —  3-5:30 p.m.
  • More is More — 5:30-8 p.m. 


  • DJ / STATION MUSIC — 9-10 a.m.      
  • Caliente Band — 10 a.m.-3 p.m.      
  • Break for Parade of the Pirates — 3:30-5:30 p.m. 
  • Sol Caribe — 5:30-8 p.m. 

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