The 109th Gasparilla Pirate Festival is coming up this weekend, and Don Barnes, executive officer for Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, is ready.
In a warehouse in downtown Tampa, pirate floats and convertibles for dignitaries are just waiting to saunter down the parade route for an expected audience of more than 200,000 people.
“We’ve been doing this for 109 years, and our goal is to make sure it goes on for another 109 years,” said Barnes, who spends the whole year planning for the annual event.
The way to reach that goal is to focus on safety.
“We’ve really been pushing for what we call ‘Responsibility Matters,’ ” he said.
“Responsibility Matters” is an educational campaign that aims to stop underage drinking. It’s a concerted effort that the Tampa Police Department is serious about. At a press conference last week, Tampa officials said a “zero tolerance” policy will be in full effect during the festivities.
“We want everybody to go home with a neck full of beads and not handcuffs,” said Police Chief Jane Castor during the conference.
To help with safety, Gasparilla organizers will be providing wristbands to everyone who is inside the parade route, which is a new measure this year.
“We want to make sure that the people that are on the parade route are supposed to be there,” Barnes said.
The Gasparilla Pirate Festival and parade kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, along Bayshore Boulevard in south Tampa. The parade will start at Bayshore Boulevard at Bay-to-Bay Boulevard.
The free annual celebration features fireworks, floats and food.
Here are some things to keep in mind from the Gasparilla Pirate Fest’s website:
- Beer and other liquor can be purchased along the parade route, which is a wet zone. Only cash is accepted, and IDs must be shown. Proceeds go to Tampa Bay charities.
- Mobile ATMs are available along the route.
- While food and drinks are on sale along the parade route, glass containers are not permitted.
- Bicycles are allowed along the route, but bikers can’t ride them once inside event closure zones. Bikes must be walked along the route.
For more information, call 813-251-8844.
Other weekend events happening nearby include:
Mime and Rhyme: Stage Dreams in Carrollwood
Carrollwood Cultural Center
Sunday, 2-4 p.m.
Join Mimi the Mime for a fun adventure into the world of imagination.
New Tampa Triathlon Club - Group Bike Ride
Flatwoods Wilderness Park
Saturday, 7:30 a.m.
The New Tampa Triathlon Club hosts a weekly group bike ride for all ages from beginners to experienced athletes every Saturday at Flatwoods/Bruce B. Downs entrance.
Clothing Drive for the Homeless in Temple Terrace
My Secret Boutique
Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
My Secret Boutique is having an ongoing clothing drive for the homeless. Men’s clothing is especially needed. Clothing should be clean before donating. For more information, call 813-985-7777.
Brandon Ballet’s Summer Intensive Audition
161 E. Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon
Saturday, all day
Brandon Ballet's 2013 Summer Intensive program runs June 10-28, and admission is audition only for ballet students age 9 and up, as well as professionals. Classes take place Monday-Friday. For more information, email email@example.com or call 813-684-4282.
All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast in Riverview
VFW 8108, 7504 Riverview Dr., Riverview
Sunday, 9 a.m.
Head over to VFW 8018 for a hearty, all-you-can-eat breakfast for $6 every Sunday.
Seminole Heights Community Garden Workday
407 W. Violet St., Tampa
Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon
Everyone is welcome to lend a hand at the garden each week. Please sign in once you arrive so organizers know you stopped by.
Wine Tasting in Westchase
The Village Market
Friday, 7-9 p.m.
The Village Market has free wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres every Friday in West Park Village.
Jazzercise in Lutz
Saturday, 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.
Jazzercise offers morning yoga on Saturdays and Sundays. The first class is free and the cost for each class after that $15. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813-743-9493.
Coffee And Music Saturdays in Land O’ Lakes
Saturday, 7-11 p.m.
Live musical acts take the stage at the coffee shop, which also features organic beans, food and a Christian mission. The shop donates a portion of its proceeds to ministries, missions and churches. For more information, call 813-527-6911.
Yappy Hour at Market Off Main in New Port Richey
The Market Off Main Street
Sunday, noon-3 p.m.
The Market off Main and Doggie Cakes are hosting a Yappy Hour to help us get Pasco Pet Fest off the ground. Come enjoy lunch by the Cotee River and socialize with other pet lovers.
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