TAMPA, Fla. — The 2023 Gasparilla Pirate Fest is returning in January to invade Hillsborough Bay.
Grab your beads, costumes, and eye patches, and get ready for the 2023 Gasparilla parades. The parades will affect parking and traffic, so here's everything you need to know about the annual fest.
The 2023 Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest kicks off on Saturday, January 28.
This year, the Jose Gasparilla will set sail from the south of Hillsborough Bay and continue north to the Seddon Channel (the area between Davis Island & Harbour Island) before docking at the Tampa Convention Center.
The annual reenactment of Tampa's historic invasion of the Gasparilla Flotilla. The Gasparilla Flotilla, led by Jose Gasparilla and the swashbuckling YMKG pirates, will dock at the Tampa Convention Center, where they've commanded Mayor Jane Castor to surrender 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.
The U.S. Coast Guard asks anyone who chooses to take their boat on the water Saturday to keep safety equipment on board and have two ways of emergency communication.
Parking: Parking will be available at the Tampa Convention Center and throughout downtown. Officials recommend attendees arrive early as parking will fill up quickly for the event.
Tickets: Free to Public
To celebrate their capture of the City of Tampa, the Captain and his Krewe share their wealth – glittering beads, treasures and doubloons – with a lively, enthusiastic crowd all along the 4.5 -mile parade route.
Tampa’s original buccaneers make their way down historic Bayshore Boulevard and into downtown Tampa – amidst colorful costumes and festive music. The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates will boast 103 elaborate floats, five marching bands, over 50 distinct Krewes and, of course, those infamous YMKG pirates!
The parade begins at Bay to Bay and Bayshore Boulevard. It continues along Bayshore Boulevard to Brorein Street, turns east on Brorein Street, then north on Ashley Drive. The parade ends at Cass Street and Ashley Drive.
Tickets: Free to Public. Reserved seating is available here.
An expanded Pirate Fest in 2023 will feature stages along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa, with live entertainment pre and post-parade in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (Ashley and Twiggs), and MacDill Park (Ashley and Whiting).
MACDILL PARK STAGE (98 ROCK):
- 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. DJ/STATION MUSIC
- 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Shawn Scheller and the Contenders
- 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Break for Parade of the Pirates
- 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. More is More
CURTIS HIXON PARK STAGE
- 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. DJ / STATION MUSIC
- 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Caliente Band
- 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Break for Parade of the Pirates
- 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sol Caribe
RECOMMENDED: Gasparilla Road Closure Times
If you need help with parking, the City of Tampa has provided maps on where you can park for the pirate celebration.
- Bayshore Beautiful
- Davis Island
- Historic Hyde Park (North)
- Historic Hyde Park (South)
- Hyde Park Preservation
- Hyde Park Spanishtown Creek (East)
- Hyde Park Spanishtown Creek (West)
- New Suburb Beautiful
- Palma Ceia (East)
- Palma Ceia (West)
- Parkland Estates
Click here for more parking information.
TECO Line Streetcar System
- Streetcar service is free
- Continuous streetcar service from 8:30 a.m.- 2:00 a.m. between Station #2 (Centro Ybor) and Station #10 (Dick Greco Plaza in Downtown Tampa) with Stations #3 and #4 CLOSED from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Stations 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 will be closed until 2 p.m. Stations #1 and #11 will be closed all day.
HART Bus Service
- An all-day pass is $4, which may be purchased in advance at HART retail outlets or onboard buses on Gasparilla Day with cash (no change provided) or via the Flamingo Fares app. Passengers may also use their monthly bus pass. This fare does not cover City of Tampa parking fees.
- For parking in Ybor City, HART will provide FREE bus shuttle service between Channel District/Ybor City and Downtown Tampa (Dick Greco Plaza) continuously from 9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- For parking at the Port Authority Parking Garage, HART will be providing FREE bus shuttle service to/from Station #10 (Dick Greco Plaza) continuously from 9:30 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Getting to Downtown Tampa on HART
- From University Area: Routes 1*, 5, 6, 9, 12, 400 MetroRapid
- From Temple Terrace: Route 6
- From Brandon: Routes 8, 360LX*
- From West Tampa/Citrus Park: Route 7*
- From South Tampa: Routes 19*, 360LX*
- From Tampa International: Routes 10*, 30*
*Routes 1,7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 19, 30, 400 (Metro Rapid) and 360LX will be on detour during the festivities.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said adults who are of legal drinking age and choose to drink should do so responsibly and inside designated "wet zones," which are located along the parade route and at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
“During large events like this, our deputies do a great job of displaying discretion. They’re not here to arrest anyone. They’re here to protect everyone. They’re here to protect the crowd," he said. "Please don’t be that girl or that guy who forces them to do their job.”