Saturday, January 23, 2010


Today we had one of our first experiences with a genuine Tampa tradition: Gasparilla! It's a city holiday that celebrates Jose Gaspar, one of the last pirates to terrorize the west Florida coast. Of course, legend has it that he buried untold treasure somewhere around her (maybe our backyard?). He is Tampa's excuse to have a bang-up pirate extravaganza. The "adult" celebration is next weekend, but the kids' festivities were today.

We started out with flybys of old WWII bombers, a very cool parachute landing from the U.S. Special Ops.

The kids got pretty bored waiting for the floats and the bead throwers (pretty much the main event of the parade is the dozens of beaded necklaces--pirate booty?-- thrown from the floats). They blew through my healthy almonds and raisins in about 30 Daddy came to the rescue with a 3 gallon bag of kettle corn. What's a momma to do besides let them ruin their dinner?
The obligatory "act like you love each other" photo. Although they weren't that excited about the picture-taking, Isaac LOOOOVED the parade. He was screaming and jumping and waving and begging for necklaces and having the time of his life. Claire was not so gregarious, but she did wave to the floats, and received her fair share of necklaces as well.
They have built the only modern, fully-rigged pirateship around (so I was told). They dock it in the Bay year round for your viewing pleasure, and then it fires cannonballs at the crowd for Gasparilla. I shudder to think how much that pirate ship cost, but it was pretty cool! The pirates have now defeated the city, and next week the mayor will hand over the keys to the city, and more pirate festivities will ensue.

We ate dinner at a friend-of-a-friends's house (who lives right on the bay!), and walked back along the shore while the "Piratetechnics" exploded overhead. What a night!
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