The 2022 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest is Saturday Jan 29, along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa. It involves concerts, a parade and a pirate “invasion” to capture the key to the city.
This is no come-lately event; for example, 2022 marks the 104th version of the “invasion.” The event is open to the public and is free. Here’s a breakdown of the events and be sure and go dressed as a pirate or wench.
The Pirate Invasion
The pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla capture the key to the city, then hold a parade in celebration. The invasion begins at 11:30 a.m., and ends at the Convention Center at 1 p.m. It involves the world’s only fully-rigged pirate ship, the Jose Gasparilla, sailing into the south end of Hillsborough Bay in an invasion from the sea.
Pleasure crafts try to hold off this onslaught but, realizing their efforts are futile, join the invading ship. This forms the Gasparilla Flotilla and it makes its way north across Hillsborough Bay and into Seddon Channel channel between Davis Island & Harbour Island.
The Jose Gasparilla displays an armada of colorful flags and her deck is crowded with colorful pirates and wenches. She goes through the harbor with cannons firing, creating a scene that’s an annual part of the Tampa Bay party and lifestyle scene where at least a few people no doubt get three sheets to the wind.
Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates Information
The pirates celebrate their booty with a parade along Bayshore Boulevard and South Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa. Beginning at 2 p.m., at Bay to Bay and Bayshore, the 4.5-mile route goes along Hillsborough Bay into downtown Tampa. It crosses into downtown over the Brorein Street bridge, turn north on Ashley Drive and end at Cass Street and Ashley Drive in the heart of the Cultural Arts District.
There are more than 140 participants, including 103 floats, five marching bands and 50 social organizations.
Music Lineup & Bands
Stages are set up along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa. Here is the schedule and lineup of bands.
MACDILL PARK STAGE (98 ROCK):
10:00am – 11:30am DJ/STATION MUSIC
11:30am – 3:00pm NOVA REX
3:00pm – 5:30pm Break for Parade of the Pirates
5:30pm – 8:00pm NOVA REX
CURTIS HIXON WATERFRONT PARK STAGE (LATIN/LA RUMBA 106.5 FM):
9:00am – 10:00am DJ / STATION MUSIC
10:00am – 3:00pm SOL CARIBE
3:30pm – 5:30pm Break for Parade of the Pirates
5:30pm – 8:00pm CALIENTE BAND
Official event website: gasparillapiratefest.com