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  • Writer's pictureGotta Go Orlando

WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair is the 2023 Gasparilla Grand Marshal in this weekend's Parade Of Pirates

Set a course for Tampa, and be prepared for great fun and high adventure at the 2023 Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest, with WWE superstar Ric Flair as Grand Marshal




Not only will pirates be invading Tampa this weekend, but the Nature Boy will be leading the way during the Gasparilla Pirate Festival.


Well known Tampa resident Ric Flair, a WWE Hall of Famer, has been announced as this year's Grand Marshal.


This years festivities will take place this Saturday, January 28, featuring the Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of Pirates.


Flair will lead the parade which will feature parade floats, krewes, marching bands, and of course Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla pirates down Bayshore Boulevard.


Organisers also named Sgt. Major Matt Parrish as the Community Hero for the Gasparilla event, and will be by Flair's side during the parade.


He is the senior-enlisted lead for the USSOCOM Preservation of the Force and Family Program.


Sgt. Parrish is a Green Beret who spent his career in special operations. He has completed multiple tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and most counties in Central and South America.


Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest

Land, ho! Set sail for Tampa, invasions are welcome in Tampa Bay!


The 2023 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest returns to Tampa on Saturday, January 28, bringing the spirit of pirates past and glittering treasures for visitors and locals to plunder.


The memorable day will feature the 106th Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, plus Pirate Fest,featuring stages with live entertainment pre and post parade in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.


Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest

The Invasion

Named for pirate Jose Gaspar, who terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Tampa's annual Gasparilla celebration begins with the Gasparilla Invasion.


Over 750 swashbucklers invade Tampa Bay aboard the majestic pirate ship "Jose Gasparilla," kicking off a full schedule of pirate-themed events.


“Land, ho! Set sail for Tampa!” Shouts the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar as his band of buccaneers sail across the Hillsborough Bay and return to the City of Tampa.


Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest

The Invasion Route

At 11:30 am, the only fully-rigged pirate ship in the world, the Jose Gasparilla, emerges at the south end of Hillsborough Bay followed by hundreds if not thousands of boats.


The vibrant Gasparilla Flotilla then makes its way across Hillsborough Bay and into Seddon Channel (between Davis Island & Harbour Island) and the Gasparilla Invasion has begun!


In this annual re-enactment of Tampa’s historic pirate invasion, the Gasparilla Flotilla – led by the Jose Gasparilla filled to the crow’s nest with swashbuckling pirates – creates a spectacular sight.


Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest

When the Jose Gasparilla docks at the Tampa Convention Center at 1pm, the Mayor of Tampa surrenders the Key to the City to the Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.


With the Key to the City in hand, the Krewe celebrates their victory in a Parade of Pirates down Bayshore Boulevard.


Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest

The Parade Of Pirates at 2 pm.

To celebrate their capture of the City of Tampa, the Captain and his Krewe share their wealth of glittering beads, treasures and doubloons with a lively, enthusiastic crowd all along the 4.5 mile parade route.


Tampa resident Ric Flair, a WWE Hall of Famer, is this year's Grand Marshal.


“Make way, mateys!” shout Tampa’s original buccaneers as they wind their way down historic Bayshore Blvd. and into downtown Tampa – amidst colorful costumes and festive music.


The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates will include 95 elaborate floats, 7 marching bands, over 50 distinct Krewes and, of course, those infamous YMKG pirates!


Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest

Parade Route

The parade begins at Bay to Bay and Bayshore Blvd. It continues along Bayshore Blvd. to Brorein St., turns east on Brorein St., then north on Ashley Dr.. The parade ends at Cass St. & Ashley Dr.


Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest

Gasparilla Pirate Fest

An expanded Pirate Fest in 2023 will feature stages along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa.


Pirate Fest will feature stages with live entertainment pre and post parade in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and MacDill Park.


Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest

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