3 Reasons the Gasparilla Pirate Festival Is One of the Best in the Country


Once a year, the Tampa Bay area fills up with thousands of people as the Gasparilla Pirate Festival invades the city. This highly anticipated event reenacts the mythical arrival of pirate Jose Gaspar and celebrates its piracy legacy. Join the fun at the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, party with buccaneers, admire the floats in the streets and enjoy delicious food and drinks with your friends and family! Get ready for a weekend of fun and discover the festive side of Tampa, FL!

Have the best time and the Gasparilla Pirate Festival and discover all the other great activities available to you in the area! Download our free Vacation Guide and get our top recommendations for outdoor adventures, gourmet restaurants, fabulous shopping and fun events! Discover all that Florida has to offer at the Historic Peninsula Inn.


Gasparilla Pirate Festival Is the Country’s Third Largest Parade


A Historical and Highly Entertaining Event

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is one of Tampa’s most anticipated events of the year. Happening every January since 1904, it’s often considered Florida’s Mardi Gras. It all started with the legend of pirate Jose Gaspar who terrorized the West Florida coast in the late 18th century. Hear the cannons booming and the buccaneers roaring as they reenact the pirate’s invasion. More than 30,000 people attend the festival every year and it’s a fun adventure that all ages can enjoy.

Three Breathtaking Parades

To celebrate the pirate’s legacy, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival organizes three major parades.

  1. The Gasparilla Invasion: Watch Jose Gaspar’s fully-rigged ship as the Ye Mystic Krewe sail through the bay and take over the city! This reenactment is so thrilling and exciting that you will forget for a moment it’s not real! Let the festivities of the day begin as the mayor hands over the keys of the city to the captain.
  2. The Parade of Pirates: Be dazzled by the four-mile-long parade of pirates and swashbuckling heroes as they take the streets of Tampa on more than 90 colorful floats. The parade starts on one of the city’s most scenic roads, the Bayshore Boulevard, and continues towards downtown. Dress like a pirate and get ready to catch some beads!
  3. The Street Festival: Keep the jolly party going day and night with the street celebrations! Enjoy the effervescence of the city and head to the surrounding bars for a happy hour or an after party. Live music is also a part of the festival. Come listen to talented local and national musicians from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Fest!

Delicious food and drinks

Beer and wine can be purchased at the festival and “wet areas” where alcohol is allowed in the streets are installed throughout the festival. More than 100 food, beverages, and vendors are at your disposal during the event, but if you want a real experience, head to the invasion brunch for a great buffet and parade combo! You can also admire the invasion and taste delicious food on a yacht alongside the Jose Gasparilla ship. Enjoy the open bar and DJ with one of the best views possible.

Next, head to the Gasparilla invasion party at Jackson’s Bistro. The entire deck is turned into a party zone on the waterfront. Tickets are limited so make sure you buy yours in advance.


Enjoy a Fun Weekend at the Historic Peninsula Inn

gasparilla pirate festivalAfter spending the day having fun and celebrating the pirate in you, come back to one of our cozy rooms at the Historic Peninsula Inn! Our lovely accommodations are the perfect fit for your weekend getaway and are equipped with comfortable beds and private bathrooms. Book our Katmandu Guestroom and enjoy this spacious suite with its flat screen TV and coffee maker. Relax in a hot bath the next morning and start the day refreshed with a delicious complimentary breakfast.

Explore all the wonders of Gulfport and book your relaxing stay at the Historic Peninsula Inn!