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Jose Gaspar was a legendary Spanish pirate who prowled Central Florida’s West Coast waters plundering
passing ships and capturing precious cargos. Gaspar is the
inspiration and namesake behind Tampa’s biggest and rowdiest annual event, the Gasparilla pirate invasion and parade. A ship fully decked out with flying flags and
firing cannons and carrying hundreds of local business and community leaders outfitted in pirate-themed attire has sailed along the waterfront, docked at downtown
Tampa’s shores and disbanded its band of revelers for decades. What began as a small winter festival in 1904 has grown into a major celebration that is now recognized worldwide.
The colorfully costumed Gasparilla pirates invade the city, not to plunder its riches, but to indulge in a
day-long party that attracts hundreds of thousands of local and visiting revelers who turn out for the a full day of festivities along Tampa’s sparkling waterfront.