Held the weekend before the Gasparilla Pirate Parade, the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza also celebrated Tampa Bay’s rich and interesting pirate history and commemorated the invasion of Tampa by the terrible Spanish pirate Jose Gaspar – otherwise known as Gasparilla.
The Extravaganza included family friendly activities, like the bicycle safety rodeo which taught younger children about bike safety and provided free helmets to young riders while supplies lasted.
Young pirates decked out in fake eye patches and drawn-up mustaches made for an adorable procession up the street during the Preschooler Stroll. These tiny tikes under the age of five looked more cute than terrifying as they held up faux vintage guns, accompanied by signs that read, “Parents Must Walk Plank.”
The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza included the Children’s Gasparilla Parade, complete with all the floats, beads and krewes of the grown-up Parade – minus the alcohol, of course. The Children’s Parade has been a part of the Gasparilla experience since 1947, following the same parade route along Bayshore Boulevard as the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates.
Rounding out the festivities was the Gasparilla Piratechnic Extravaganza, one of the largest firework displays in the country. The Piratechnic Extravaganza is a spectacle to behold – the invasion of Tampa by Gasparilla and his men is reenacted in fireworks and a magnificent light display. The pirates won, as they do every year.
The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza is an excellent way to celebrate and share Tampa Bay’s unique heritage and history, not to mention the fun and alcohol-free entertainment for children (and adults) of all ages.
To learn more about Gasparilla, visit www.gasparillaextravaganza.com.