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Gasparilla

Milky Doolittle, Staff Writer

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Last Saturday was the 102nd annual Gasparilla Day Parade. For those who don’t know, Gasparilla is a huge parade that stretches 3.8 miles on Bayshore Blvd. The event is pirate themed and was inspired by the local legend of Jose Gaspar, a supposed famous pirate that plagued the Tampa Bay area during the 1700s. Nowadays, the parade is filled with massive floats, marching bands from local schools, and the pirates from Gaspar’s ship. The parade also features an aquatic side with a pirate ship coming into the bay to steal the Keys to Tampa from the mayor.

I went to my first Gasparilla Parade during my sophomore year and it was easily the highlight of that school year. It is a tradition for the “krewes”, participating in the event to throw beads and other small things from their floats to the crowds so I spent most of my day pressed along the fence trying to catch as many beads as possible. After watching countless drunk people almost fight over the beads or other small trivial things, I finished the day with at least 100 beads around my neck and wide smile across my face.

Since I didn’t get to go to Gasparilla during my junior year because of conflicting responsibilities, I was super excited to go to Gasparilla this year. I was expecting good, normal Tampa weather like last time. I was not prepared though for the cold front that hit Tampa a few days before the parade dropping the temperatures to the high 50s – low 60s. With the temperature at a level I don’t particularly like to be out in and strong breeze that constantly pierced through my clothes, I was not really wanting to spend as much time outside as I had spent two years prior.

I went to the parade in pants, shirt, and a sweater and still was feeling miserable throughout the entire time. I am a little sensitive to the cold so I quickly realized that this was not my day to be outside for long. Sadly, I did not get to stay long at Gasparilla and only got to see a few floats and marching bands. Since I knew I was not going to be staying long, I did not even bother to try to catch any beads. I wanted to write this article and comment on which float was my favorite but I guess it was not meant to be.

Hopefully next year, the weather is better, but it doesn’t really matter to my readers since I won’t be here to write another article about Gasparilla. 🙁 My advice to you is to go to Gasparilla and experience all the excitement yourself.

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