By KATIE STOCKDALE
Tampa Yacht Club
The José Gaspar pirate galley that normally floats in the Seddon channel across from Tampa General Hospital will be casting off from the Tampa Yacht Club at 11 a.m. Saturday and sailing across the bay, around the tip of Davis Islands and then up the channel between Davis and Harbour Islands. Surrounded by a guard of honor – Tampanians with boats – the José Gaspar will continue its invasion by sailing up to siege downtown. The plethora of participating boats make the most of the festivities, throwing beads to eager locals watching from the edges of the islands. This year, the José Gaspar will be carrying the NHL’s Stanley Cup Championship Trophy.
Convention center (end of invasion (docks at 1:00)/taking of city)
Upon reaching the end of the channel, the José Gaspar sails on to the Convention Center, where it docks and releases its pirate horde. After storming the building, the pirates corner the Mayor, who hands over the key to the city to the Captain.
Bayshore for parade (2:00)
Flushed with their success, the pirates decide to celebrate by parading through the city, unloading the treasures of the José Gaspar on their new citizens as they go. Tampanians flood their route, all eager to receive the treasure – beads. Beginning at Bay to Bay Boulevard and winding its way down Bayshore, the parade goes into the heart of downtown, ending at Cass Street and Ashley Drive around 5:30 p.m.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and the Riverwalk
Stages will be set up along the Riverwalk in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, MacDill Park and the Sail Pavilion to provide the crowds with live entertainment. An after-party starts at 6:30 p.m. at Ferg’s Live, with an appearance from special pirate guest Captain Morgan who will deliver a signature Gasparilla toast.
Katie Stockdale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org