Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest

‘Community Hero’ Announced For 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest, Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates

Darrell Stefany, EventFest, Inc. (813) 251 – 3378,
Darien Cobb, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, (813) 627-7788,
Kaley Purdon, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, (813) 627-7623,
Chris Dirato, Bitner Group, (954) 703-7938,

semtampa SHR GPF Logo

‘Community Hero’ Announced For
2019 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest,
Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates

2019 GPF Community Hero

TAMPA, Fla.  (January 08, 2019) – Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, along with EventFest, Inc. and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, announced today that retired U.S. Army First Sergeant Valerie Ellis Lavin will be the “Community Hero” for the 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is the title sponsor of the Gasparilla Pirate Fest, which is scheduled for Saturday, January 26. The event will feature the Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates, presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

Lavin, who leads her own company (St. Petersburg-based Luminary Global), is best known for her passion to help veterans and their families start their own businesses. It’s a passion she has been pursuing and refining for nearly four years and she has since woven herself in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Tampa Bay. She is often referred to as a “person you have to know” in the veteran and entrepreneurial communities.

In recent years, Lavin has been recognized by a number of organizations for her community efforts – 2018 Ybor Heroes Award (Ybor City Chamber of Commerce); 2017 Business Woman of the Year honoree, category finalist and winner of the “Roar” Award (Tampa Bay Business Journal); 2016 Susie Steiner’s Community Impact Award (Hillsborough Community College); 2015 Hero at Work Award (Tampa Bay Business Journal); and the 2014 Army Noncommissioned Officer of the Year (Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce).

She also serves as Program Director for Women in Defense (Greater Tampa Bay Chapter), board member for USF’s Center for Veteran and Military Family Transition and Professional Philanthropy Network as well as Transition Committee for Mission United of the United Way. Additionally, she recently was nominated to be the incoming Vice President of the National Veterans Small Business Coalition.

During her military career, Lavin collected numerous awards including the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2OLC), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal (1OLC), Joint Service Achievement (1OLC) and Army Achievement Medal.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to announce that Valerie will be the ‘Community Hero’ for the 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates,” said Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa President Steve Bonner. “While we should be extremely grateful for her service and commitment to our country, we should also take note of the huge difference that she is making in the Tampa Bay area. She is a true American hero.”

“Valerie Ellis Lavin is a perfect selection for the 2019 Gasparilla Parade of Pirates Hometown Hero. She’s a combat veteran, recognized leader, and award-winning trailblazer who’s dedicated her life in support of military veterans and their families. Jose Gaspar would be proud to have her on his Krewe!” said Richard Chapman III, Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

About Gasparilla Pirate Fest

The 2019 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest is scheduled for Saturday & Sunday, January 26 & 27, 2019, in Tampa and will feature the 105th Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, and the Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival, presented by Budweiser.

About Gasparilla Reserved Tickets

Parade of the Pirates reserved bleacher seats are $50 online in advance. For additional information and to purchase Gasparilla Tickets and Official Gasparilla Treasures™ merchandise, visit Tickets can also be ordered from the Gasparilla Ticket Line (813) 251-8844. Tampa’s Signature Gasparilla Community events, including the Children’s Gasparilla, Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and the Gasparilla Outbound Voyage are marketed, managed and produced annually by EventFest, Inc. of Tampa.

About Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is the premier entertainment destination of Central Florida. Owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the property is one of the most successful and largest casinos in the world. Located off I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa, the casino features high stakes table games, thousands of the hottest slot machines as well as a new smoke free slots area offering more than 850 popular games. Additionally, there is a state-of-the-art Poker Room featuring 46 tables and an art deco-inspired Mezzanine Level Casino with more than 500 premium and high limit slots. The hotel is AAA Four Diamond rated and the property proudly offers seven award-winning Zagat-rated restaurants, including the upscale dining venues Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and The Rez Grill. The only place to rock one’s body and soul, Rock Spa® & Salon, is also available along with a plethora of VIP services. For more information, please call 866-502-PLAY or visit us online and via FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

About Hard Rock International

With venues in 75 countries, including 183 cafes, 27 hotels and 12 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s most valuable collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise and Hard Rock Live performance venues. HRI owns the global trademark for all Hard Rock brands. The company owns, operates and franchises Cafes in iconic cities including London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Dubai. HRI also owns, licenses and/or manages hotel/casino properties worldwide. Destinations include the company’s two most successful Hotel and Casino properties in Tampa and Hollywood, FL., both owned and operated by HRI parent entity The Seminole Tribe of Florida, as well as other exciting locations including Atlantic City, Bali, Cancun, Daytona Beach, Ibiza, Orlando, Shenzhen and San Diego. Upcoming new Hard Rock Cafe locations include, Maldives, Manila, Malaga, Georgetown, Fortaleza, Rosario and Chengdu. New Hard Rock Hotel, Casino or Hotel & Casino projects include Berlin, Budapest, Dublin, London, Los Cabos, Madrid, Maldives, New York City, Ottawa, Sacramento, Dalian and Haikou in China. In 2018, Hard Rock International was recognized as a Forbes Magazine Top Employer for Women and Land Operator of the Year at the Global Gaming Awards. For more information on Hard Rock International visit