The 2014 annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest is fast-approaching; the Gasparilla Chidlren’s Parade and Piratechnic Extravaganza is this coming Saturday, January 18th. The next Saturday, January 25th, brings a return of all the Gasparilla events , beloved by residents and visitors alike. The Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival and the Invasion Brunch both kick off at 10:00 a.m; the exciting Gasparilla Invasion begins at 11:30 a.m. at the south end of Hillsborough Bay, and the eagerly-anticipated Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates begins at 2:00 p.m. Due to the number of people who attend these events (over 300,000), planning ahead can save you disappointment. So, pull out that pirate costume and get ready to take part in one of Tampa’s most exciting events. Some of the information you might find helpful includes the following:
Parking and Docking
To avoid costly—and inconvenient—towing or ticketing, pay attention to parking restrictions. Special event parking is available throughout the downtown area, with many parking garages and lots offering one-time special parking rates. The TECO line streetcars will run continuously from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., and offer an all-day pass for $5. Those parking in Ybor City can take advantage of HART bus service; a $4 all-day bus pass can be purchased in advance or on Gasparilla Day with cash only. Monthly bus passes may also be utilized.
The in-town trolley will provide a connection from the north end of downtown Tampa to the south end for 25 cents, or with streetcar/bus all-day passes accepted. For boat owners, be aware there is limited docking space at the Tampa Convention Center as well as the Marina area. Further, if your boat is longer than 65’, you must have special permission to participate. While you may use your bicycle to get to the Gasparilla Pirate Fest, you must walk it once inside. Tampa officials urge all those headed to the Gasparilla Pirate Fest to seriously consider public transportation.
Tickets and Reservations
You can get a full list of tickets and necessary reservations for the Gasparilla Pirate Festivities at http://gasparillatreasures.com/. The following apply for the 2014 Festival:
- Admission to the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates is free, however if you desire front-row fun, reserved-chair seating located at the water side of Bayshore Blvd, expect to pay $44.86.
- Regular reserved bleacher seat tickets for the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates-$35.51
- Invasion Brunch for children 2-12–$60.75
- Invasion Brunch for adults–$70.09
- Adult Invasion Brunch/Select Parade Seating Combo $101.87
- Child Invasion Brunch/Select Parade Seating Combo $92.52
- Adult Hospitality Ticket; reserved bleacher seat for parade with pre-parade family entertainment, a picnic-style buffet lunch and additional snacks and treats served during the parade.
Food and Beverages
There will be over a hundred vendors located throughout the Gasparilla Pirate Fest, therefore there will be no shortage of food or beverages! You may also bring in your own food and non-alcoholic beverages, but are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages, Styrofoam cups or containers, glass containers, coolers or grills into the festivities. You can purchase alcoholic beverages at any of the Gasparilla Charity Beer Gardens. Police officers will be vigilant when looking for those who are drinking irresponsibly. If you are under the age of 21, don’t drink. If you are driving, don’t drink or ensure you have a designated driver or public transportation lined up. Should you experience any type of problem during the 2014 Gasparilla Pirate Fest, call the law firm of Finebloom & Haenel, P.A. for compassionate, experienced assistance.