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Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla demands peaceful surrender of Tampa

Ahead of the festival this weekend, the pirates are preparing for their invasion.

TAMPA, Fla. — Argghhh you ready? 

The Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla is sailing into Tampa once again. And after COVID-19 put a hold on last year's invasion, those pesky pirates are coming for all the booty.

Ahead of the festival this weekend, they barged into the Tampa Convention Center to demand a peaceful surrender of the city — or else Mayor Jane Castor better prepare for an invasion.

"I heard there was a problem at the convention center and I come and find a bunch of scallywags that think they're gonna get this," Castor said while holding up the key to the city. "You're never getting this key."

The krewe tried to win the mayor over with a proclamation.

"Your recent treasure won from Lord Stanley and Sir Vincent Lombardi are a testament to your strength and wisdom. Champa Bay is clearly well-led," the pirates said. "Our great captain of Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, Peter "Lion-Hearted" Lackman, demands on behalf of all mystic pirates that you surrender to us the key to the City of Tampa!"

After the mayor respectfully declined, the pirates warned "invasion shall commence on Saturday!"

"Methinks I may have to call Tom Brady," Castor responded.

That invasion will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29. On that day, the Jose Gasparilla ship will lead hundreds of boats across Hillsborough Bay in the Gasparilla Flotilla. The 165-foot long “pirate” ship, was built in 1954 for the pirate festival.

If Ye Mystic Krewe is victorious, the pirates will celebrate their capture of Tampa by sharing their wealth of colorful beads with revelers. 

The parade typically boasts more than 140 units comprised of more than 100 elaborate floats, marching bands and at least 50 krewes. It kicks off around 2 p.m. on Saturday at Bay to Bay Boulevard and ends around 5:30 p.m. at Cass Street and Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa.