As you probably already know, Tampa’s biggest part of the year is in just couple days, and this year is a little extra special because of the NHL all-star game also happening at Amalie Arena on Sunday. But before you throw on your hockey sweaters and gear up for Tampa’s first all-star weekend since 1999, let’s first take a look at the schedule of events for Gasparilla 2018:
Gasparilla Invasion Brunch - 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Before you swing over to the bay front, stop over at the Tampa Convention Center for a quick brunch. Tickets are required but the brunch is a great way to kick-off the day and get fully into Gasparilla mood. The menu is about what you would expect from brunch menu, and let’s face it—you probably won’t feel like cooking on Gasparilla Saturday anyway.
Gasparilla Invasion - 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
After the brunch, the festival will officially kick off with the annual Gasparilla Invasion, where the legendary Jose Gasparilla pirate ship and its crew will set sail from the south end of Hillsborough Bay to invade the city of Tampa. A re-enactment of sorts of Tampa’s historic pirate invasion, the Gasparilla Flotilla, this kick-off celebration is always worth checking out, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. At the conclusion of the invasion, the Jose Gasparilla will dock over at the Tampa Convention Center around 1 p.m.
Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates - 2 p.m.
After the invasion, the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla will celebrate the capture of Tampa with a victory parade—a tradition dating all the way back to 1904. Starting at Bay to Bay and Bayshore and running 4.5 miles into downtown Tampa along Hillsboro Bay, this year’s parade will feature 103 floats, three marching bands, and over 50 local and social organizations.