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01/28/2012 - Gasparilla 2012 - Jan 28th


Gasparilla Invasion Brunch Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m.

Tampa Convention Center
333 S Franklin St., Tampa FL 33602

This is one of the prime viewing spots to see the Gasparilla Invasion unfold. Enjoy a breakfast buffet and entertainment as you await the arrival of the Jose Gasparilla, When the ship docks, you'll get an up-close view of the pirates in all of their glory as they arrive at the convention center dock. In addition to a breakfast smorgasbord, the brunch includes a cash bar with beer, wine and spirits.

Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival
Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10 a.m.

Gasparilla Pirate Fest Stage
Ashley Drive and Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa FL 33602

The captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and his band of marauding buccaneers celebrate their successful invasion with a Pirate Street Festival near Curtis Hixon Park. Entertainment includes the Danny Lozada y el Latin Band, Daniel B. Marshall, C'NERGY and the Skycoasters.

Gasparilla Pirate Fest Invasion
Saturday, Jan. 28 at 11:30 a.m.

Tampa Convention Center
333 S Franklin St., Tampa FL 33602

Thousands line the downtown waterfront to watch the spectacle as fully-rigged pirate ship Jose Gasparilla sails into the south end of Hillsborough Bay with hundreds of pirates aboard, cannons booming and a massive flotilla of pleasure boats accompanying it. The ship docks at the Tampa Convention Center around 1 p.m., where the mayor will surrender the key to the city into the hands of the captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

Price: Free.

Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates
Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m.

Gasparilla Parade Start Point
Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard, Tampa FL 33602

After their invasion aboard the Jose Gasparilla, hundreds of pirates get down to the serious business of the day: Tossing thousands of beads to hundreds of thousands who line the streets along Tampa's waterfront. This parade brings more than 140 units, including 90 floats, marching bands and 50 pirate krewes. It begins at Bay to Bay Boulevard and follows Bayshore Boulevard to Brorein Street, turns east on Brorein, then north on Ashley Drive and ends at Cass Street.

Following the parade, the pirate fest continues with a variety of live entertainment on stages throughout downtown Tampa. The newly redesigned and expanded Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, located on the east side of the Hillsborough River across from the University of Tampa between Madison and Polk, will host the main Gasparilla entertainment stage.

A Latin-themed entertainment stage is located downtown before the parade in MacDill Park, on the west side of Ashley Drive along the river between Whiting and Jackson Streets.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Daniel B. Marshall
6:15 - 8 Synergy
8:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. The Skycoasters

Tips for navigating the day

Private lots throughout downtown Tampa will be open during Gasparilla, with varying rates. The public parking garages at the Tampa Convention Center, under the Crosstown between Florida Avenue and Morgan Street, under the Crosstown east of Morgan Street, on Channelside Drive between Florida Avenue and Morgan Street, Fort Brooke and Whiting Street all charge $10. But the best option, on our experience is to park far away and hop on board the TECO Line Streetcar ($5 for an unlimited pass) in Ybor City and ride it into downtown Tampa. Park your car at the Centro Ybor Parking Garage or the Palm Avenue Garage. It's $1 for the first three hours; up to $10 depending on how long it's there. For Ybor City parking information call (813) 242-5484.

There are portable toilets along the parade route, near reserved parade seating and at the downtown street festival, but plan ahead because lines typically will be long. Publix, 243 Bayshore Blvd., offers its restrooms to the public. Hyde Park Village has public restrooms on the west side of Snow Avenue, as does Kate Jackson Park at Rome and Snow avenues. Facilities at restaurants and bars near the festivities are for paying customers only. Depending on the lines elsewhere, you might find it's worth the cost of a cover charge.

Do not walk around with your red cup of beer. Police in recent years have gotten much tougher and issue hundreds of open container citations on Gasparilla day. Look for signs about the permitted areas, but the basic rule is if you are at the parade route, you can have an open container. If you are in the neighborhoods, you cannot.

Bring cash because many of the ATMs set up along the parade route charge steep fees, and most vendors only take cash.

Despite its rowdy reputation, "flashing" for beads is frowned upon. There are kids here, people. But here's a tip we learned from recent years: The crowds on the last segment of the parade downtown are often half the size of those on Bayshore Boulevard, so it ups your chances of catching more beads.

Have one for your car or your boat because police are all over, on land and sea, looking for impaired drivers.

No large coolers or kegs. Open containers are allowed in designated areas only. Absolutely no glass bottles. You can have soft-sided coolers or lunch bags for children or medical needs.

Text yourself where you left your car. Police complain that they are hounded for directions by lost revelers.

If you don't want to worry about finding a place to see the parade, you can reserve a bleacher seat or get a hospitality ticket. They range in price from $29.91 to $92.52 at

Price: Free. Reserved seating $32-$40.
Phone: (813) 251-8844

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