Ashley Homestore Children’s Gasparilla Presented by Chick-Fil-A Tampa Bay Announces 2020 Grand Marshal and Community Hero

Tampa, Fla. (January 13, 2020) – WWE® Superstar The Big Show® will serve as Grand Marshal for the 2020 Ashley HomeStore Children’s Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay. The announcement, made today by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and EventFest, also introduced Gary Markel, founder and board chair of the nonprofit Operation Healing Forces, as this year’s honorary Community Hero. 

Children’s Gasparilla is a family-friendly and alcohol-free celebration set to take place on Saturday, January 18, beginning at 3:30 p.m. As Grand Marshal and Community Hero, both The Big Show and Markel will lead more than 100 parade floats, krewes, marching bands, dance units, school organizations and community groups down a one-and-a-half-mile route along Tampa’s famed Bayshore Boulevard. 

“When putting together one of Tampa’s biggest shows, we couldn’t think of anyone more fitting to serve as Grand Marshal than The Big Show himself,” said Captain Richard Chapman of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. “We look forward to welcoming this legendary WWE Superstar back to Tampa in front of a crowd of more than 100,000 excited families.”

Known as “The World’s Largest Athlete” and standing at 7 feet tall, The Big Show is one of the most decorated Superstars in WWE history. Throughout his illustrious career, he has held the WWE®, WCW® and ECW® Championships.  After a brief hiatus from the squared circle, The Big Show made a memorable return this past Monday on WWE’s flagship USA Network program, Monday Night Raw. The Big Show has participated in many memorable WrestleMania® moments and will be a part of WrestleMania Week when it comes to Tampa this April. Outside the ring, The Big Show has successfully made his mark in Hollywood, appearing in The WaterboyKnucklehead and starring in the upcoming Netflix comedy series “The Big Show Show.”

The Big Show will be joined by the Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay Community Hero, Gary Markel, as the Children’s Gasparilla special guest. After seeing the impact of war on the special operations forces (SOF), Gary Markel decided to take action by creating Operation Healing Forces, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring the relationships wounded by the call of duty. The organization has three primary endeavors that greatly aid the special operations community: retreats, immediate needs, and employment programs.

Operation Healing Forces’ retreats invite wounded, ill, and injured SOF members and their loved ones to come together and heal in a safe and supportive environment. Since opening in 2011, Operation Healing Forces has helped 387 wounded special operations couples (774 participants) in their recovery through its retreat program. It has also helped more than 700 SOF with “Immediate Needs,” including critical medical care not adequately fulfilled by other available programs. Finally, Operation Healing Forces transition programs help SOF reintegrate into the workforce through a recently-unveiled program developed in conjunction with the Markel Corporation. 

Ticket packages are available for the Ashley HomeStore Children’s Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay. To purchase, visit You can also follow the Gasparilla celebrations on social media (@GasparillaTampa). 

The Ashley HomeStore Children’s Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay and Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest are marketed, managed and produced annually by EventFest, Inc.

For media or interview inquiries, please contact: 

Jessica Eckley, Crackerjack Media 

Email: jessica at