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Boat parades still happening to celebrate Gasparilla despite city canceling events

The city of Tampa and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla announced earlier this year Gasparilla events were canceled due to the pandemic

TAMPA, Fla. — It's no secret Gasparilla got canceled this year because of the pandemic but that isn't stopping other boat parades from celebrating it this weekend. 

The crowds you might see in Tampa Bay tomorrow have nothing to do with the city because they are all privately organized events. 

"Everybody knows Gasparilla's parade was canceled by Ye Mystic Krewe and the city of Tampa decided it wasn't safe to put on," Jake Hoffman with Tampa Bay Young Republicans said.

But Hoffman and Cliff Gephart with Trumpilla Boat Invasion say their organizations can find a safe way to host a boat parade.

"Going on a boat with six people in your family, I don't think you have much to worry about," Hoffman said.

"There was a boat parade for the Super Bowl and Stanley Cup so why can't there be another boat parade? So we started Trumparilla," Gephart said.

Hundreds have said they plan to attend so far. The Coast Guard says it along with additional law enforcement agencies will be out helping participating boaters navigate the events. Organizers say they didn't need a permit to organize this but have a message for you if you are planning to come out.

"I want everyone to know that every boater needs to govern their own and be in charge of their own safety. It's not the city's or our job it's their responsibility to look after their passengers," Gephart said.

And it's not just safety on the water to consider, with big crowds gathering throughout the weekend for bar crawls and other similar events there are also COVID-19 concerns. That's something organizers say you'll have to decide on for yourself.

"If you don’t think a boat parade is appropriate then don’t go but if you think you can maintain a safe distance from other boats then show up," Gephart said.

The Coast Guard says to call 727-824-7506 if you have or see any trouble on the water.

For more information on where events are at click here.

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