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Everything you need to know about Gasparilla Pirate Fest 2022

After being canceled in 2021, the parades are making a triumphant return.

TAMPA, Fla. — Make way, mateys. Everyone's favorite hometown pirates are back and ready to invade Hillsborough Bay.

After being canceled due to COVID-19 concerns in 2021, the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest is making a return on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.

Whether you're a seasoned parade-goer or new to the Bay area, here's everything you need to know about Gasparilla 2022.

When are the different Gasparilla festivities?

There are several staple events that make Gasparilla — well, Gasparilla. The day of swashbuckling fun gets underway with the invasion from noon until 1 p.m.

"'Land, ho! Set sail for Tampa!' Shouts the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar as his band of buccaneers sail across the Hillsborough Bay and return to the City of Tampa," the website reads.

While Hillsborough Bay will be riddled with hundreds of pirates ready to take over the city, the coolest sight might just be getting to see the Jose Gasparilla in action.

From there, the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates will begin its 4.5-mile parade route at 2 p.m. and keep the bead throwing going until 6 p.m.

"'Make way, mateys!' shout Tampa’s original buccaneers as they wind their way down historic Bayshore Blvd. and into downtown Tampa – amidst colorful costumes and festive music," the website reads.

All-day long landlubbers can also enjoy live music at stages along the Riverwalk and in the downtown Tampa area. An entertainment lineup and schedule have yet to be announced.

What's the parade route?

The parade will begin at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard before continuing down Bayshore Boulevard. Once floats reach Brorein Street, the parade will make a turn to the east. A quick turn onto Ashley Drive is up next on the pirates' route before it ends at the intersection with Cass Street.

What's the sailing route?

There will be a slight difference in the route of the Gasparilla Invasion this year due to inclement weather.

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla announced Friday afternoon that the Jose Gasparilla ship, led by Captain Peter Lackman, will begin sailing at noon Saturday from Port Tampa Bay. 

The ship then will sail 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 will demand Mayor Jane Castor surrender the key to the city.

A small craft advisory will be in effect through 7 p.m. Saturday.  

Personal boats are advised to not take part in the invasion this year given the forecast for high winds and rough water. 

Is there anything for kids?

The Children’s Gasparilla, presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay, kicked off on Saturday, Jan. 22. The kid-friendly parade has been an area tradition since 1947 and took place along Bayshore Boulevard.

Pirates made their way through downtown Tampa for the 2022 Children's Gasparilla Parade.

Other than just the parade, the day was jam-packed full of different celebrations and events guests were able to enjoy.

Take a look at the photos from the festivities below!

Do I have to get tickets?

The short answer is: No. Attending the pirate-based event is free to the public. 

But there are aspects of the overall pirate fest that do require prepaid admission. These are things like the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch, Gasparilla Combo- Brunch and Bleacher ticket, general bleacher tickets and special chair seating. 

All add-on tickets can be purchased here

Which items are prohibited?

  • Signs and banners that have not been licensed or approved by the event.
  • Outside food and beverage.
  • Coolers and grills.
  • Glass containers and styrofoam cups/containers.
  • Golf carts and scooters.
  • Pets.
  • Tents or reserving areas with rope or fencing.
  • Illegal drugs and weapons of any sort.

Other FAQs

  • Yes, there are ATMs located throughout the parade route
  • Yes, strollers are allowed. If you are in a reserved seating section the stroller must be stowed under the bleachers. 
  • Yes, you can dock your boat at Gasparilla, but space is extremely limited.
  • Port-o-lets will be located throughout the event site, along the parade route and at the Pirate Street Fest.


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