Gasparilla 2024: the Ultimate Guide

Gasparilla 2024: the Ultimate Guide

Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho, a pirate's life for us!

Ahoy Mateys! It's time to get out your eye patch and pirate gear, practice a swagger, limp or squint, and prepare to capture the booty!

Yep, it's Gasparilla time! Nothing says Tampa Bay like the Gasparilla parade. It’s Tampa’s largest party and an event like nowhere else! This annual invasion is something everyone should experience at least once!

Jose Gasparilla

First, what is Gasparilla? If you aren’t yet a seadog (that's an experienced pirate for you newbies), Gasparilla is a 100-year old Tampa Bay tradition. Every year since 1904, the shores of Tampa Bay come alive with Gasparilla, a legendary pirate-themed event that includes parades, festivals, running events and more.

The festivities kick off with the Gasparilla Invasion, a thrilling spectacle where the pirate ship, Jose Gasparilla, sails into the Bay and the pirate crew demands the Key to the City from Tampa’s mayor. This is celebrated with two massive parades: the family-friendly Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza on Jan. 20, 2024 and the Gasparilla Invasion on Jan. 27, 2024.

Here are 8 things you need to know about the Gasparilla parades:

  • Get there early! Many of the streets in downtown Tampa will be closed before and after the parade. Parking can be a nightmare! We recommend taking a ride share downtown or getting dropped off by a friend.
  • Parking. Do not park on neighborhood streets in the Bayshore area the day before and day of the parade as you will be towed! You can park in one of the downtown garages and take the shuttle but the lines are very long. This year the free trolley pickup is at the Publix on Bayshore and Platt with dropoff at Bay to Bay and Bayshore. The trolley will loop continuously throughout the day before and after the parade, from 11:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. This will be very busy and if you are bringing a stroller this is not our recommendation.
  • Reserved seating. Reserved grandstand seating is available on the waterside of Bayshore. Prices begin at $58. Tents and reserving space along the parade route is prohibited. In years past we have seen families spread out blankets along the fences but usually people disregard and will stand right on your blanket. You can bring folding chairs to sit along the fence and this is what we recommend. 
  • Children’s parade. The children’s event on Jan. 20, 2024 is family-friendly and alcohol-free. We find this event just as much fun as the main invasion with slightly less crowds. Either way there will be wall-to-wall people if the weather is nice. The parade is broadcast live on Fox 13.
  • Food and beverage. There will be food and drinks for sale but the lines will be long. Beer and wine is for sale at the Gasparilla Charity Beer Gardens located throughout the event. You must be 21+ and you must present a valid photo ID. 100% of the net revenue supports local Tampa Bay area charities. Outside food or beverage is NOT permitted. Coolers are also not permitted on the parade route.
  • Disability accommodations. There is parking for a fee and free parade viewing for disabled patrons is located at the intersection of Ashley Drive and Whiting Street. A disabled vehicle permit is required. Parking for this area is in the Fort Brooke Garage. Parking is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no seats or bleachers in this reserved area and in order to ensure accommodation for as many disabled patrons as possible, the number of guests per disabled patron is limited to three people.
  • Consider a view from a boat. Docking space in and around downtown Tampa for Gasparilla is extremely limited. Boaters attempting to come ashore along the Bayshore Boulevard balustrade or any other property without a permit are strictly prohibited. Viewing the parade from the Bay is an option although you won’t catch many beads.
  • Pets. Animals, except service pets, are prohibited at the event.

Children's Gasparilla parade map

Children's Gasparilla Parade

Bring your krewe to the family-friendly parade on Jan. 20, 2024. No alcohol allowed but all the fun will be there for the kids. A bike rodeo begins at noon, a preschool stroll at 2pm and the main parade begins at 4pm. The parade is followed by a nighttime air invasion as well as Piratechnic (firework) finale. The event is free but reserved grandstand seating is available.

Children’s event schedule:

12:00p-2:00p - Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Rodeo

12:00p-4:00p - Gasparilla Air Invasion

2:00p-3:00p - Preschooler’s Stroll

4:00p-6:15p - Children's Gasparilla Parade*

6:15p-7:00p - Nighttime Gasparilla Air Invasion

7:00p-7:30p - Piratechnic Finale

Gasparilla parade

Gasparilla Invasion & Parade of Pirates

Picture this: a sea of glittering beads and treasures being tossed into the air as a crew of pirates celebrate their victory over the City of Tampa. As the Captain and his Krewe parade along the 4.5-mile route, you’ll witness approximately 140 units of elaborate floats, Krewes, marching bands, and, of course, the lots of pirates!

11:30a-1:00p - Gasparilla Invasion as the Jose Gasparilla travels through the Bay to the Tampa Convention Center

2:00p–5:30p - The parade begins at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard. It continues along Bayshore Boulevard to Brorein Street, turns east on Brorein Street, then north on Ashley Drive. The parade ends at Cass Street & Ashley Drive.

10:00a-8:00p - | Gasparilla Pirate Fest Stage Performances (live entertainment before and after the parade at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (at Ashley and Twiggs Street) and MacDill Park (at Ashley and Whiting Street).

Other Gasparilla events:

Gasparilla Music Festival Feb. 16-18, 2024 at Julian B. Lane Park in downtown Tampa

Gasparilla Distance Classic Feb. 14-25, 2024

Festival of the Arts March 2-3, 2024 at Julian B. Lane Park

International Film Festival March 21-24, 2024

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