Thought it would be worth starting this thread. What is Gasparilla? - It is a festival season in Tampa, with tons of smaller events that center around the main Gasparilla weekend (which usually takes place the Saturday before the Superbowl). The festival celebrates a mythical pirate named Jose Gaspar who takes over the city for a day. The day will start with a boat "invasion" where hundreds of "pirate" boats come towards downtown Tampa, with fake cannon and gunfire. At which point the mayor of the city surrenders the city to the pirates, who then throw a parade down Tampa streets. After the parade the party often continues downtown with many free concerts. There are other Gasparilla events, like a childrens parade, a night parade through Ybor City - usually the Saturday night after the Superbowl (Ybor City is Tampa's traditional Cuban district) and other events like fun runs and art festivals. Why should you care? Well, if you are a Mardi Gras sort of fan, you may want to add Gasparilla to your travel plans. Here are some random facts to consider: Tampa's open container laws are relaxed for both the parade and the night parade. (be careful to stay near the parade route, nearby neighborhoods do not have relaxed laws) Beads fly off Gasparilla floats at an alarming rate, sometimes you have to be defensive to avoid getting too many strands. If you are looking for a wild time full of college coeds then head to Bayshore, if you want to bring the family, then head to the later part of the parade, downtown. I'll also mention, any questions about Gasparilla or Tampa, let me know, I'll be glad to help.