[ IVY. It returned in 1956 as the Gasparilla Invitational Tournament, an amateur competition which has been held annually ever since. [8] Different versions of the story say that he was either a Spanish nobleman and advisor to King Charles III of Spain who was exiled after a romantic scandal in court, a traitorous admiral of the Spanish Royal Navy who stole a ship and fled when his treachery was revealed, or an ambitious young officer in the Spanish navy who was driven to mutiny by a tyrannically cruel captain. & Queen Jane Wallace, King Lee M. Bentley & Queen Dada Pittman Glaser, King G. Pierce Wood Jr. & Queen Patricia C. Williams, King W. DeHart Ayala & Queen Sandra Louise Fogarty, King Michel G. Emmanuel & Queen Caroline E. Murphey, King James W. O'Neal & Queen Helen Parkhill Murphey, King John Germany & Queen Suzanne Galloway Adams, King John H. Boushall Jr. & Queen Jane Gray Hanlon, King Fred R. Martin III & Queen Camille Amanda McWhirter, King James L. Ferman & Queen Mary Winifred Wilson, King Russell S. Bogue Jr. & Queen Darby Crowder, King L.G. "Taking the best of everything when a capture was made, he chose the best of the islands in Charlotte Harbor, for his own secret haunts," declared the leaflet. [1], The cover of the brochure featured a blood-dripping color illustration of Gaspar, and the introduction claimed that the tale of the pirate contained therein was gleaned from stories told by the recently deceased John Gmez, who was described as the longest-lived member the crew. The parade has always been held along Tampa's waterfront near downtown Tampa, and since 2011, it has ended along the Tampa Riverwalk, where festivities continue into the nighttime hours.[4][1]. [14], Many of the events of Tampa's Gasparilla season are organized by "krewes", which are social and charitable organizations modeled on the krewes that participate in the Mardi Gras festivities of New Orleans. Gaspar, Jos, -- 1756-1821. [3][15][22][1], Since then, many elaborate and often conflicting stories have been told regarding Gmez's alleged exploits alongside Jos Gaspar. Also, despite the fact that the supposed location of Gaspar's "regal base" at Gasparilla Island has been developed into the resort town of Boca Grande, no artifacts or other physical evidence of the hideout, his ship, or his lost treasure has ever been found in southwest Florida despite years of searching by amateur and professional treasure-seekers. [3][45][42], In 1923, author Francis Bradlee obtained a copy of the Gasparilla Inn brochure and, assuming it was factual, included Gaspar in a book he was writing about piracy in the West Indies. Despite the fact that the Annual Gasparilla Festival started in 1904 to celebrate "Pirate . [1] It also sought to connect Gaspar to Charlotte Harbor by claiming that his sprawling home base had encompassed several islands in the area. Plastic beads like those at New Orleans Mardi Gras festivities are by far the most prevalent item, with varieties ranging from simple single-color necklaces to intricate and expensive designs, most of which are purchased by krewe members themselves. But city leaders have made a lot of changes over the past decade to keep drinking under control. Instead he said he spends most of his Gasparilla in a police car making sure that all the complex chess pieces move at the right time.. [56] The Krewe of Venus (a women's organization formed by relatives of YMKG members) was allowed to join the parade in 1966, and the Krewe of Sant'Yago (formed by leading members of Tampa's Latin community) began holding their own Gaspar-themed parade in Ybor City in 1972, with both krewes collaborating somewhat with YMKG. Reporters and bloggers, alike, Can the Democratic Party regain strength in Florida? This document recounts the Gasparilla legend first published in 1936 but adds a coda which concedes that scholarly research conducted in both Spanish and American archives has not uncovered any evidence of Gaspar's existence. Hundreds of thousands will crowd the streets to participate in another day of bead-throwing and. [5][6] Besides the three large parades, the city hosts many other community events during this time, including the Gasparilla Film Festival, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, the Gasparilla Distance Classic, the Gasparilla Music Festival, the Gasparilla Bowl college football game, and a lineup of many other events that varies from year to year. We interviewed our tech expert, Jaime Vazquez, to learn more about accessible smart home devices. [8], Most of the organizations, events, and businesses who use "Gaspar" or "Gasparilla" are not affiliated with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla or the City of Tampa, neither of which owns the monikers. [3] Gaspar established a base on Gasparilla Island and was soon the feared scourge of the Gulf of Mexico and the Spanish Main, taking many ships as prizes and amassing a huge treasure cache in the period coinciding with the second Spanish rule of Florida. Gasparilla began as a surprise "pirate invasion" on horseback during the city's May Day festival in 1904. Like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, partying at Gasparilla can get pretty rowdy. "Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla" (YMKG) came together informally to stage the first pirate "invasion" in 1904 and has evolved into a registered non-profit organization which has organized the Gasparilla Parade ever since. . For men, getting the chance to don a pirate costume and join the invasion could be a very valuable opportunity. The connection was first made soon after his death in 1900, when a promotional pamphlet for a Charlotte Harbor resort hotel (see below) claimed that the late John Gmez was the primary source of its tale of the pirate Gasparilla. Most stories agree he was an aristocratic Spanish . The award-winning Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts returns for its 53rd year on March 4th and 5th. In Johnson's first novel, it's the summer of 1972, and Daniel Westcott, 68, has been named king of the pirates, to be crowned at the annual Gasparilla Queen's Party. Barnes isnt one of the lucky men who gets to dress up in pirate costume and ride on the Jose Gasparilla II. [11], For over half a century, various Gasparilla pirate ships would sail about half a mile up the Hillsborough River to near the University of Tampa, where members of YMKG would disembark for the parade. The vast majority of loot taken by real-life pirates consisted not of gold doubloons but of easily liquidated trade goods, and there were no nearby towns where stolen cargo could be sold. The disappearance of a Tampa Bay blue blood rattles the skeletons in his family's closet. Once they had the idea for Gasparilla, Louise Frances Dodge and George Hardee invited members of Tampas high society to form a secret group called Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. [8] Around noon on the Gasparilla Day, members of YMKG set sail across Tampa Bay from near Ballast Point Park to downtown aboard the Jose Gasparilla, a 165' long flat-bottomed steel barge which was specially built and decorated for this purpose in 1954. [46] The first "pirate invasion" was held on May 4, 1904, and the dates of Gasparilla ranged from February to May over the next few occurrences. The first invasion by boat was in 1911. Louise Frances Dodge, who was society editor of the Tampa Tribune in 1904, came up with the idea for the festival with Tampas customs director George Hardee. [7] While several purported biographies of the pirate state that the nickname "Gasparilla" means "Gaspar, the outlaw" in Spanish, it is actually a feminine diminutive meaning "little Gaspar" or "gentle Gaspar", a moniker more likely to be attached to a pacifist priest than a bloodthirsty buccaneer. However, the diary was said to have been lost, and no other evidence was disclosed.[7][5]. Captiva Island was said to be where his captives were held, Sanibel Island was named after Gaspar's love interest, and his home was on Gasparilla Island - "Taking the best of everything when a capture was made, he chose the best of the islands in Charlotte Harbor for his own secret haunts," it declared. The brochure was produced and widely distributed by the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway, which built the resort at the end of its rail line. "Pirate State (of mind); When bad boys make for good fun: Pirates have shed their villainous image in Florida". [3] It was authored by publicist Pat Lemoyne for the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway Company, which had just opened the resort. [17], Currently, over fifty krewes march in the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates, with smaller krewes participating on a rotating basis due to the limited number of available slots. As of the 2020 edition of the Gasparilla Pirate Fest, the issue was being considered by the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. If you're looking for something to do that combines culture and the outdoors, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is the hot ticket this weekend. And a few pigs and chickens didnt make it from one end of the invasion to the other.". ( KTLA) - Burger King is bringing back a fan-favorite item and a new variation of a classic food offering to celebrate the return of spring. However, African-Americans and others among Tampa's diverse population felt left out of the planning and organization of the events, with some observers questioning the tradition of local elites dressing as pirates and pretending to plunder the city. & Queen Anne Lawson Kelley, King William L. (Larry) Smith & Queen India Powell Stallings, King J. Rex Farrior, III & Queen Laura Elizabeth Straske, King Gary W. Harrod & Queen Margo Hall Ennis, King Christopher C. Lykes & Queen Courtney Laurens Farrior, King CVII James A. Turner III & Queen CVII Martha Davis Straske, King CVIII Richard McKinley Chapman III & Queen CVIII Caroline Grace Dearing Lackman, Copyright @ 2023 Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla - All Rights Reserved |. "[18][19][20][21], John Gmez (also known as Juan Gmez and Panther John) was a real person who has become entangled with the legend of Jos Gaspar. However, though many versions of Jos Gaspar's adventures have been told in various forms over the years - including pulp adventure novels, tourist guides, and official histories of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla - all have their basis in the fictional tale first printed in an advertisement for the Gasparilla Inn. Taken together, the events of Tampa's Gasparilla Season have an estimated local economic impact of about $40 million.[4]. Chapman serves as the King for Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla this year. [6], In some versions of the story, Gaspar began life as a poverty-stricken Spanish youth who kidnapped a young girl for ransom. Lane Riverfront Park to . The origin of the hand remained a mystery, though the curator of the history center opined that it might be a mummified monkey hand. Photos from the past show the festivities have changed over the decades. As described by the Boca Grande Historical Society, several Calusa and other Native American sites around Charlotte Harbor have suffered "unimaginable damage" at the hands of "looters in search of a non-pirate's non-treasure. Lane Riverfront Park in downtown Tampa, the festival attracts over 30,000 visitors. Events kick-off at 9 am and continue through 10 pm. [59], When Tampa next hosted a Super Bowl in 2001, the parade was held on the Saturday before the game, and an integrated Krewe of Gasparilla was joined by over 30 other diverse krewes before a record crowd of 750,000. Most male prisoners would be forced to join his crew or be put to death, while women would be taken to a nearby isle (called Captiva Island for this reason) to be held for ransom or serve as wives or concubines for the pirates. [38], The theme of the Gasparilla Festival was inspired by the legend of the pirate Jos Gaspar, who supposedly operated off the west coast of Spanish Florida from the 1780s until the 1820s. [7][3], Other versions of the story state that Gaspar was a nobleman who achieved a high rank in the Spanish Royal Navy and became a councilor to King Charles III of Spain. Gasparilla Pirate Fest officially consists of three primary events: Now in its 53rd year, the festival is popular with . This error led to Gaspar being mentioned in a few other non-fiction books about piracy and Florida history, causing ongoing confusion as to the authenticity of the legend. World War II froze Gasparilla from 1941-47, diverting funds to buy war bonds, and leaving 33rd king and queen, James T. Swann Jr. and Queen Ruth Binnicker, on the throne, the only royals to marry . Girl "pirates," 1968, in the ratlines of a ship. The photo below shows a prominent businessman in Tampa in the typical dress of a knight riding a horse, very much as Rex Lieutenants do to this day, as they precede the king's float on Mardi Gras day. A note on the following images: While the krewes of the 21st century are more inclusive, Gasparilla was segregated by gender until the 1960s and by race until the 1990s. [9] This is unlikely, as there is no record of Lafitte spending time on the southwest Florida coast, and he died in Mexico before Gaspar's supposed demise. In order to accommodate the parades, many streets will be closed. Several semi-theatrical events around Gaspar's "pirate invasion" have become traditional: The Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza is held on the Saturday prior to the main parade, currently the second-to-last Saturday in January. [32] The Knight Parade features a similar mix of participants as the Parade of Pirates, with most of the floats are brightly illuminated since the event begins after dark. [19] So many beads are thrown that in recent years, the city has organized post-parade volunteer cleanup efforts which annually collect thousands of pounds of plastic from the parade route and nearby Tampa Bay. Can SunRail help ease traffic in Polk County? He said Gasparilla organizers have worked hard to combat that with efforts like ramping up police presence along the parade route, doing educational outreach and limiting the amount of alcohol people can bring and buy. Boca Grande [was then] the principal town of Gasparilla Island, and . [3], In the 1930s, construction worker Ernesto Lopez showed his family a mysterious box he claimed to have found while working with a repair crew on the Cass Street Bridge in downtown Tampa. Whatever his supposed origins, the legends agree that Gaspar fled to the virtually uninhabited southwestern coast of Spanish Florida in the 1780s and established his "pirate kingdom" on Gasparilla Island in Charlotte Harbor, south of Tampa Bay. Since 2005, it has been held on the last Saturday in January. [23][3][7] While none of these stories can be verified, researchers have found record indicating that Gmez lived in several locations around southwest Florida from about 1870 until his death, including the Florida Everglades, Key West, Tampa, Pass-a-Grille, and the Ten Thousand Islands. [27][22][23] His tall tales were usually shared in very informal settings during fishing trips and hunting expeditions and are only documented in a few personal accounts in newspapers and magazines and in his obituary. Gaspar instantly regretted the deed and took her body to a nearby island, which he named Useppa in her honor, and buried her himself. [20], Though very popular now, beads were rarely seen at Gasparilla Parades before the 1990s. [3], The parade is organized by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG), a local organization modeled after the "krewes" of Mardi Gras in New Orleans who play the parts of Gaspar and his crew. "In 1783, having become a traitor and a pirate, Jos Gaspar gave the name of "Gasparilla" to himself as well as to his ship and the island in Charlotte Harbor, on the west coast of Florida near. He explained that the story had been inspired by John Gmez's tall tales, which Lemoyne had heard second-hand. Most modern-day Gasparilla attendees picture the large Jose Gasparilla II pirate ship that sails into Tampa Bay each year for the invasion, but that was not built until 1954. The story of Gasparilla and his pirates has lent a certain flair of mystery and adventure to Florida's West Coast since the late 1800s. Empathizing with his friend's plight, Gaspar eventually allowed Lopez to return home. The annual Gasparilla celebration is a tradition that goes way back, and this year Daniel is crowned Gasparilla King, which is a big deal. [58] The city of Tampa hastily put together a replacement parade called "Bamboleo", which was billed as a "multicultural festival" and did not include pirates. [52] However, in 2018, the city did not change the regularly scheduled date of the parade to avoid the NHL All-Star Game and related activities, which were held at Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa over the same weekend. Gaspar could not resist taking one last prize, so he led his crew aboard the Floriblanca to pursue their prey. [13] In addition to the krewes, high school and university marching bands and drill teams often participate, and many local businesses and organizations build and enter their own elaborate floats from which they also throw trinkets to the crowd. [7], The Gasparilla Pirate Festival has been popular in Tampa since its inception and has grown into the third largest parade in the United States. Pirates have fired off canons on the Jose Gasparilla II as the ship "invades" Tampa Bay since it was built in 1954. The family brought the box to the attention of a local reporter, whose TV news report on the strange find was picked up by several national and international news outlets. 1998 - 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved. Don't worry, there aren't actually any canon balls inside. While some feel that the widespread use of the name constitutes a "co-branding" which promotes all similarly named organizations and Tampa in general, others believe that overuse could "water down what it means", and that the potential failures or missteps of one event or organization might reflect poorly on all the others. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn meets with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla members in 2019 to "negotiate a peaceful surrender of the city," part of the tradition leading up to the annual Parade of Pirates. [56] However, due to practical concerns, participation in the Parade of Pirates has been limited to fifty krewes per year, with smaller krewes taking turns on a rotating basis. Lane Riverfront Park along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. Gasparilla Pirate Fest is on January 28, 2023 with the Parade of Pirates stepping off at 1pm. Over 300,000 spectators are expected to line the streets to watch the Ashley Children's Gasparilla Parade presented by Chick-fil-A on January 21, 2023 and the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest on January 28, 2023. The event was a hit, and the following year, the Krewe organized a parade in which all 60 of Tampa's cars rode through downtown. Some versions identify the lady with Josefa de Mayorga, daughter of Martn de Mayorga, viceroy of New Spain from 1779 to 1782, and contend that the island's name evolved over time. Why is diversity the hot issue in Florida higher education? [3], Gaspar has been associated with various other pirates, both historical and not. An average of over 300,000 people attend the event, which contributes over $20 million to the local economy.[38]. The Gasparilla Innin 1913]. He was popular in the court, but when he spurned one lover for another, the jilted lady levied false charges against him, often said to involve the theft of the crown jewels. In 1936, YMKG commissioned Tampa Tribune editor Edwin D. Lambright to write an authorized history of the organization. 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One of the most famous involves a Spanish princess (or Mexican, depending on the version) named Useppa who was a passenger on a captured ship. Kite-Powell said it wasnt always easy to pull off such an invasion by sea. On Gasparilla Day, members of YMKG don pirate regalia and sail across Tampa Bay aboard the Jose Gasparilla II, a 165-foot-long (50m) "pirate ship" which is actually a steel barge converted to look like a large West Indiaman. "[3], Despite this colorful history, there is no evidence that a pirate named "Gaspar" or "Gasparilla" ever roamed the Florida coast. It's Gasparilla arts season. He said it took a few years for the festival to become a consistently annual event, but that organizers quickly realized it could be an asset to the city. The latest news and how to stay informed. [33][6][34], Besides the three main parades and the many galas, parties, and fundraisers hosted by individual krewes, Tampa has long hosted a variety of other Gasparilla-related events from approximately January through March. To learn more, read this article. What are those large pyramids next to the Skyway? Lemoyne described Gmez as a "colorful" eccentric who claimed to have been a pirate in order to sell fake treasure maps to "the gullible" for a "fancy figure". From March 4-5, event-goers can come out to Julian B. [22] His self-reported age and birthplace varied, even on official documents. so you can be prepared. Beard III & Queen Courtney Clewis Howell, King Stephen W. Swindal & Queen Mallory Cason Howell, King John A. Brabson Jr. & Queen Caroline Elizabeth Annis, King O.Fred Dobbins & Queen Kelly Clewis Davis, King Michael D. Annis & Queen Katherine Bagwell Dobbins, King Harold W. Mullis Jr. & Queen Rosemary Elizabeth Williams, King J. Thomas Touchton & Queen Jennifer Louise Tuttle, King Preston L. Farrior & Queen Mary Ellen Buell, King Michael L. Carrere & Queen Kerry Lynn Carson, King R. James Robbins Jr. &Queen Merrin Baldwin Jenkins, King David A. Straz Jr. & Queen Elizabeth Lykes Carrere, King Philip R. Carroll & Queen Colleen Paige Pizzo, King Joseph W. Taggart & Queen Sara Katherine Ennis, King James C. Von Thron M.D.
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