Frequently Asked Questions

Gasparilla Pirate Fest

January 30 2016

Is Gasparilla Pirate Fest free?
Yes, Gasparilla is a FREE community event with over 100 years of history in Tampa Bay.  Visit the Event History page.

Reserved seating is available for the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch at the Tampa Convention Center, the Children’s Gasparilla Parade and the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates.  Visit the Tickets 'n' Treasures page for information.

Can I purchase alcohol at the festival?
Beer along with Captain Morgan Rum and cola is for sale and can be purchased at one of several Gasparilla Charity Beer Gardens located throughout the event.  You must be 21+ and you must present a valid photo ID. 100% of the net revenue supports local Tampa Bay area charities, and the event is proud to have contributed over $300,000 to these charities over the past five years.

Are there any ATMs in the festival site?
There are mobile ATMs located throughout the parade route as well as a few banks and merchants close to or within the event site.  Please note that charity beer gardens and event vendors accept cash only .

Can I hang a banner or sign along the parade route or at the Street Fest?
Unless officially licensed and approved by the Event, banners and signs are prohibited.  Police, event security and event staff will remove banners and signs that are not approved.  These items will not be returned to the owner.

No banners or signs may be placed on the Bicycle Rack or fence that lines the parade route, as it interferes and blocks the view of the parade.

Can I ride a bicycle to the event?
Bicycles are allowed for transportation to the event site, however within the event street closure cyclists must walk with their bikes.  The event site is very crowded with pedestrians, including small children. 

Do not leave your bicycle unattended and do not lock to private or city property.

Event Office
Gasparilla Pirate Fest is managed and promoted by EventFest, Inc.  If you can’t find the answer to your Gasparilla Pirate Fest question on the website, please contact us.

Phone: (813) 251-8844 – open M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET. 
Please be patient, as the call volume is extremely high in January.

Address: EventFest, Inc.
Attn: Gasparilla Pirate Fest
1200 W. Cass Street, Suite 110
Tampa, FL       33606

For reserved tickets, please visit the Tickets 'n' Treasures Web Shop.

City of Tampa
This is a recorded message with information only.

Gasparilla Extravaganza/Children's Gasparilla Parade
Call Center Hours: To Be Determined

Gasparilla Pirate Fest/Gasparilla Parade of Pirates
Call Center Hours: To Be Determined

How do I become a corporate sponsor of Gasparilla Pirate Fest?
Gasparilla is one of the largest community celebrations in the country, and remains a free event thanks to the support of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the Event’s corporate sponsors. If you are interested in supporting Tampa’s historic celebration, please submit the information found on the Sponsor Inquiry page.

Are there any special services for disabled patrons?
There is parking for a fee and free parade viewing for disabled patrons is located in downtown Tampa at the intersection of Ashley Drive and Brorein Street.  Disabled vehicle permit is required.  Parking for this area is under the Crosstown Expressway, between Tampa Street and Ashley Drive.  This area opens at 11 a.m. on Parade Day.  Parking is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis. This area is monitored by the Tampa Police Department.  Note: There are no seats or bleachers in this reserved area.

In order to ensure accommodation for as many disabled patrons as possible, the number of guests per disabled patron is limited to three people.

Disabled patrons can be accommodated in reserved parade seating sections along Bayshore and/or at the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch at the Tampa Convention Center.  To order, visit Tickets 'n' Treasures or call 813-251-8844.  Please notify your ticket representative of any special needs.

Can I dock my boat at Gasparilla?
Docking space in and around downtown Tampa for Gasparilla is extremely limited.  Boaters attempting to “come ashore” along the Bayshore Boulevard balustrade or any other property without a permit are strictly prohibited. There is limited docking space available at The Tampa Convention Center or in the Marina area along Bayshore between Platt Street and the Davis Island Bridge, available through the City of Tampa Parks Department (Phone: 813-259-1604).

Are there fireworks at Gasparilla?
The Gasparilla Extravaganza annually features one of the largest fireworks presentations in the country – The “Piratechnic” Extravaganza. This show is launched from barges centered off of the intersection of Howard and Bayshore in South Tampa. The show is choreographed to music –which can be heard over speakers along Bayshore Boulevard from Bay to Bay to Rome.

Can I bring my own food and beverages?
There are over 100 Food, Beverage and Novelty vendors located throughout the event site for your convenience.  We ask that you support our officially licensed vendors, as they contribute a portion of their revenue to offset production costs of this great community celebration.

While you are permitted to bring in your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, please keep in mind that glass containers and coolers are not permitted for safety reasons.  Glass containers are prohibited by City of Tampa ordinance, and bulky coolers are a safety hazard in large crowds. Small soft-sided coolers and lunch bags are permitted for childcare needs and medical needs.  Grills, other than those owned by official food vendors, are prohibited within the event site. Please help our environment and do not use or bring styrofoam cups/containers to the event.

Gasparilla Pirate Fest is the last Saturday in January.

The Gasparilla Extravaganza is the next to last Saturday in January, and the week prior to the Gasparilla Pirate Fest.

Future Event Schedule:
January 21, 2017 – Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza
January 28, 2017 – Gasparilla Pirate Fest

January 20, 2018 – Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza
January 27, 2018 – Gasparilla Pirate Fest

For information, please call (813) 254-7866 or visit .

Can I participate in the Gasparilla invasion Flotilla?
Boats larger than 65’ in length must have dock space secured and must also be permitted to participate in the Gasparilla Invasion of the Pirates, presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. For more information, call the Krewe’s office at (813) 251-4500 in Tampa.
Boaters should download the USCG regulations HERE.

Are there any boating safety rules, regulations and/or guidelines for Gasparilla?
Yes!  About 40 law enforcement vessels will be on the water, including boats from the Coast Guard, Tampa Police Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Hillsborough County and Pinellas County sheriff's offices.

PLEASE HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER ON YOUR BOAT.  Impaired boaters will have their vessel towed unless there is someone onboard who can operate it.

Heightened boating regulations in place during Gasparilla include:

  • Personal watercraft and vessels without motors are barred from the invasion and along the invasion route, which is an idle-speed, no-wake zone.
  • Anchoring and loitering is prohibited along the route or within the Seddon Channel turning basin.
  • Northbound vessels longer than 80 feet without mooring arrangements are prohibited from entering Seddon Channel between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • A staging area has been established for participating vessels just east of Ballast Point and the Tampa Yacht Club. Only registered participants can enter the area from 9 a.m. until the last vessel in the flotilla leaves the zone.
  • Vessels are barred from the zone from 1 to 2 p.m.  Anyone seeking latitudes and longitudes for safety and security zones can call the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office at (727) 824-7598.

For information, please call (813) 876-1747 or visit

Can I ride my own golf cart?
Insurance requirements will not allow golf carts within the event site unless licensed and permitted by the festival office.  Only golf carts used by authorized festival staff and vendors will be granted permits.  Authorized event golf carts cannot and will not be used to transport unauthorized individuals.

Where should I report or find lost children at the event? 
Lost children should be reported to and/or turned over to the nearest police officer. The officer will contact Event Police Command and all officers on site have contact with Event Police Command.

Where should I turn in a lost item? 
Onsite, lost items may be turned over to the nearest police officer or to any Event Staff at the event.   After the event, lost items may be retrieved by calling the Gasparilla Ticket office in Tampa 813-251-8844.

Where can I report or recover a lost item?
After the event, lost items may be retrieved by calling the Gasparilla Ticket office in Tampa 813-251-8844.

Can I cross Bayshore during the parade?
Due to safety concerns, it is strongly advised that event guests get to their seats early, and cross Bayshore prior to the start of the Parade. Event guests with Reserved Parade Seating may be allowed to cross Bayshore at Reserved Parade Seating gates and ONLY when there is a break in the parade lineup as permitted by the gate security officer. Gate security will escort guests across the street ONLY when allowed by Police / Sheriff officers.


What is this year’s parade lineup?
The lineup for the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates is released by the Gasparilla Parade Committee in mid-January each year. This line-up will be available on the Event site and is published in The Tampa Tribune’s special Gasparilla Tabloid, which is distributed in full circulation on the Thursday before the Gasparilla Extravaganza, and also available on, key word Gasparilla.

PARKING & Transportation
For information regarding parking, transportation and disabled parking, please visit the Parking page. And, download this handy reference map (pdf).

With the additional parking in north downtown, the new parade route up Ashley, and the expanded Ybor Street Car, there will not be a shuttle for Gasparilla 2015.

How can my Krewe, company or school participate in the parade?
The Gasparilla Parade Committee reviews all applications and selects all the participants for the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates each year. The application deadline is in August prior to the event.  For an application, please contact the Gasparilla Parade Committee at (813) 251-4500.

If you are interested in participating in the Children’s Gasparilla Parade, please visit for information and to download the official application.

How can my band perform at the Street Fest?
If you are interested in performing on one of the Street Fest stages, please submit your demo kit to EventFest via mail, Attn: Gasparilla Pirate Street Festival, 1200 West Cass Street, Suite 110  Tampa, FL  33606. Or, email to

Can I bring my pet to the festival?
Due to the size of the crowd and the nature of the event, we strongly encourage you to leave your pets at home!  The event site is too crowded and is not a conducive environment for animals.  Pets (with the exception of animals assisting the handicapped) are prohibited at the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch in the Tampa Convention Center or in the reserved bleacher seating sections for the Parade of the Pirates.

Unless licensed, permitted and identified in writing by Event Staff, the following items are prohibited within the event site:

  • No styrofoam cups or containers
  • Advertising of an any product or service
  • Glass containers of any sort (City Ordinance)
  • Coolers – Note: Small soft-sided cooler and lunch bags are permitted for childcare needs and medical needs only.
  • Contests or lotteries of any kind
  • Tents of any sort
  • Fence, stakes or rope (used by spectators to reserve space for parade viewing)
  • Sampling or give-away of any product or service
  • Selling any product or service
  • Solicitation or database development of any kind
  • Vehicles of any sort
  • Weapons of any sort
  • Illegal drugs of any sort

Does Gasparilla Pirate Fest have a recycling program?
Yes, beginning in 2007, Gasparilla Pirate Fest goes “Green” with the help and support of Anheuser Busch Recycling, Busch Gardens, Sea World, the City of Tampa Solid Waste and EventFest, Inc..  Look for specially marked recycling containers at strategically placed locations throughout the event and help Gasparilla go "Green."

Where are restrooms located along the event site?
Port-o-lets are located throughout the event site: along the parade route on both sides of the street, near all reserved seating sections, and in downtown at the Pirate Street Fest. 

What are the street closures for the Event?
Information on the street closures and the parking and traffic plan for the Gasparilla event is best found via the City of Tampa’s Special Event Office website by CLICKING HERE, or by calling 813-274-8750.

Are strollers allowed?
Yes, strollers are allowed.  In reserved seating sections, strollers must be stowed under the bleachers or in a non-obstructive area on ground level.

Can I rent a stroller at the festival?
There are no strollers for rent at the festival.

Can I put up a tent, or reserve an area with rope or snow fence?
Tents of any kind or reserving an area with rope or fencing is strictly prohibited. You may “reserve” viewing space along the parade route in designated areas by arriving early (anytime after dawn) and physically occupying the desired space.  You are welcome to bring a chair or blanket. 

With many event guests arriving well in advance of the parade, an alternative way to reserve your seating along the route is by purchasing a reserved bleacher seat.  Please visit the Tickets 'n' Treasures section of the Gasparilla Pirate Fest website for more information.

How can I become a food or novelty vendor?
All vendors must follow the official application process.  Please see the vendor inquiry page.  Persons trying to operate a vending location without an official Gasparilla vending permit will be shut down by city Code Enforcement.

Are there opportunities to volunteer at the event?
From time to time, there may be volunteer opportunities at Gasparilla Pirate Fest.  If your group is interested in being notified about these opportunities, please email your contact information to .

What happens if it rains?
The pirates will invade and the parade will march on even in the rain!  However, if there is a severe or dangerous weather situation during the event, that threatens the safety of Gasparilla participants or guests, EventFest, in coordination with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa, reserves the right to cancel the parade.

Are wheelchairs available at the festival?
There are no wheelchairs for loan at the festival.  Please plan to bring your own wheelchair.

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