Ahoy! Children’s Gasparilla is coming to Tampa this weekend

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By Crystal Harlan

January 19, 2024

Here’s what to expect at the family-friendly kiddie edition of Tampa’s most popular festival.

Get the little mateys ready for Tampa this weekend! This Saturday, Jan. 20, is Children’s Gasparilla.

Here’s the schedule for the family-friendly kiddie edition of Tampa’s most popular festival. (Save the rowdy antics and drunken debauchery for the following weekend!)

From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a bicycle and pedestrian safety rodeo along Bayshore Boulevard, between Rome and Dakota Avenues for children learning how to bicycle safely with traffic. Volunteers will fit children with free, brand-new bicycle helmets that they can keep (while supplies last), before they hop on one of the Rodeo’s bicycles and traverse a mini-traffic course.

From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Gasparilla Air Invasion will feature its largest airshow yet, with civilian aerobatic teams, vintage military aircraft, and the Chuters Parachute Demonstration Team.

The Gasparilla Preschooler’s Stroll, presented by Primrose Schools, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., will feature the area’s youngest pirates. Children 5 and under in pirate attire will parade down Bayshore Boulevard in decorated wagons, strollers, and on bikes. Pre-registration is required to join in this event.

The Children’s Gasparilla Parade, considered the largest children’s event in the country, will take place from 4 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Expect pirates, floats, and marching bands, starting at Bay to Bay and Bayshore Boulevard and ending at Edison Avenue. The event is free, but reserved seating is available for purchase.

The Nighttime Gasparilla Air Invasion will take place during twilight hours, from 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will include a parachute jump and fireworks fight. Stick around for the “Piratechnic’ fireworks finale, from 7 to 7:30 p.m.

Visit gasparillapiratefest.com for more information and to reserve parade seating.

The Gasparilla Pirate Fest is the following Saturday, Jan. 27. The more-than-a-century-old tradition is centered around the mythical pirate José Gaspar, and features a full-rigged pirate ship with a crew of 700 pirates that sail into Tampa, flanked by hundreds of pleasure craft and vessels. The rowdy revelry continues at a parade down Bayshore Boulevard, which organizers say is the third largest in the country.

 

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Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

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