Gasparilla Invasion Survival Tips

If you are like us, Gasparilla Pirate Fest  is probably your favorite festivity in Tampa Bay. We have compiled a list of important information that you should know if you plan on attending one of the biggest events of the year.


Image from Gasparilla Pirate Fest 2015




Join us for the Official Gasparilla Eve Pub Crawl by Budweiser

gasparillaJoin Budweiser, the King of Beers, for an epic pub crawl through South Tampa on Friday, January 29th & kick off the invasion weekend with Buds.


  • Ducky’s between 6pm-8pm
  • Soho Saloon between 8.30pm -9.30pm
  • Yard of Ale between 9.30pm-10.30pm
  • MacDinton’s between 10.45pm-11.45pm


Gasparilla Invasion Schedule by News Channel 8


6 p.m. – Pirate Fest Stage in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park 

This is the second annual Gasparilla Charity Concert and Pre-Invasion Celebration presented by Budweiser. The Swon Brothers, The Hip Abduction and Howie Day will play on stage at the park. The gates will open at 5 p.m., with The Hip Abduction opening at 6 p.m. General Admission (lawn seating) tickets are now available for $20 each, tax included. Tickets are available exclusively from EventFest, with online sales at, or by phone at (813) 251-8844.


The City of Tampa wants you to be prepared for heavier than normal traffic on Saturday, January 30, 2016 in downtown and south Tampa. See road closures, parking advisories, places you can park to go to the parade, plus directions to avoid closed streets HERE.

See the schedule for the day here:

9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Gasparilla Invasion Brunch

Tickets can be purchased in advance for this Tampa Convention Center event.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – The Gasparilla Invasion

The Jose Gasparilla is scheduled to sail north to Seddon Channel (between Davis Island and Harbour Island), continues north and docks at the Tampa Convention Center at 1:00 p.m.

2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates

The parade begins at Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard. Budweiser Clydesdales proudly commence the float passage. It continues along Bayshore Boulevard to Brorein Street, turns east on Brorein Street, then north on Ashley Drive. The parade ends at Cass Street & Ashley Drive.

You can purchase reserved bleacher seats here. FreeReserved seating is also available.



Got Questions? We have got answers. See the full list of FAQs here.

Is Gasparilla Pirate Fest free? 

Yes, Gasparilla is a FREE community event with over 100 years of history in Tampa Bay. Reserved seating is available for the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch at the Tampa Convention Center, the Children’s Gasparilla Parade and the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates. Visit the Gasparilla Treasures™ page for information.



Can I purchase alcohol at the festival?

Beer and Wine is for sale and can be purchased at one of several Gasparilla Charity Beer Gardens located throughout the event. You must be 21+ and you must present a valid photo ID. 100{daa241165d670cbcb5f2a12aebe0b675697f6dc473d25f791721c5ceb2d34d53} of the net revenue supports local Tampa Bay area charities.



Are there any ATMs in the festival site?

There are mobile ATMs located throughout the parade route. Please note that charity beer gardens and event vendors accept cash only .




Can I ride a bicycle to the event?

Bicycles are allowed for transportation to the event site, however within the event street closure cyclists must walk with their bikes. The event site is very crowded with pedestrians, including small children. Do not leave your bicycle unattended and do not lock to private or city property.




Are there any special services for disabled patrons?

There is parking for a fee and free parade viewing for disabled patrons is located in downtown Tampa at the intersection of Ashley Drive and Whiting Street. Disabled vehicle permit is required. Parking for this area is in the Fort Brooke Garage. Parking is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis. This area is monitored by the Tampa Police Department. Note: There are no seats or bleachers in this reserved area.

In order to ensure accommodation for as many disabled patrons as possible, the number of guests per disabled patron is limited to three people.

Disabled patrons can be accommodated in reserved parade seating sections along Bayshore and/or at the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch at the Tampa Convention Center. To order, visit Gasparilla Treasures™ or call 813-251-8844. Please notify your ticket representative of any special needs.



Can I dock my boat at Gasparilla?

Docking space in and around downtown Tampa for Gasparilla is extremely limited. Boaters attempting to “come ashore” along the Bayshore Boulevard balustrade or any other property without a permit are strictly prohibited. There is limited docking space available at The Tampa Convention Center or in the Marina area along Bayshore between Platt Street and the Davis Island Bridge, available through the City of Tampa Parks Department (Phone: 813-259-1604).



Are there fireworks at Gasparilla?

The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza annually features one of the largest fireworks presentations in the country – The “Piratechnic” Extravaganza. This show is launched from barges centered off of the intersection of Howard and Bayshore in South Tampa. The show is choreographed to music –which can be heard over speakers at show center.



Can I bring my own food and beverages?

There are over 100 Food, Beverage and Novelty vendors located throughout the event site for your convenience. We ask that you support our officially licensed vendors, as they contribute a portion of their revenue to offset production costs of this great community celebration.

Glass containers and coolers are not permitted for safety reasons. Glass containers are prohibited by City of Tampa ordinance, and coolers are a safety hazard in large crowds. Grills, other than those owned by official food vendors, are prohibited within the event site. Please help our environment and do not use or bring styrofoam cups/containers to the event.




Where should I report or find lost children at the event?

Lost children should be reported to and/or turned over to the nearest police officer. The officer will contact Event Police Command and all officers on site have contact with Event Police Command.



Where should I turn in a lost item?

Onsite, lost items may be turned over to the nearest police officer or to any Event Staff at the event. After the event, lost items may be retrieved by calling the Gasparilla Ticket office in Tampa 813-251-8844.

Where can I report or recover a lost item?

After the event, lost items may be retrieved by calling the Gasparilla Ticket office in Tampa 813-251-8844.



Can I cross Bayshore during the parade?

Due to safety concerns, it is strongly advised that event guests get to their seats early, and cross Bayshore prior to the start of the Parade. Event guests with Reserved Parade Seating may be allowed to cross Bayshore at Reserved Parade Seating gates and ONLY when there is a break in the parade lineup as permitted by the gate security officer. Gate security will escort guests across the street ONLY when allowed by Police / Sheriff officers.



Can I bring my pet to the festival?

Due to the size of the event, pets (with the exception of animals assisting the handicapped) are prohibited at the Gasparilla Pirate Fest.



Unless licensed, permitted and identified in writing by Event Staff, the following items are prohibited within the event site:

  • No styrofoam cups or containers
  • Advertising of an any product or service
  • Glass containers of any sort (City Ordinance)
  • Coolers – Note: Small soft-sided cooler and lunch bags are permitted for childcare needs and medical needs only.
  • Contests or lotteries of any kind
  • Grills of any kind
  • Tents of any sort
  • Fence, stakes or rope (used by spectators to reserve space for parade viewing)
  • Sampling or give-away of any product or service
  • Selling any product or service
  • Solicitation or database development of any kind
  • Vehicles of any sort
  • Weapons of any sort
  • Illegal drugs of any sort



Does Gasparilla Pirate Fest have a recycling program?

Yes, in 2007, Gasparilla Pirate Fest went “Green” with the help and support of Anheuser Busch Recycling, the City of Tampa Solid Waste and EventFest, Inc.. Look for specially marked recycling containers throughout the event and help Gasparilla go “Green.”



Where are restrooms located along the event site?

Port-o-lets are located throughout the event site: along the parade route on both sides of the street, near all reserved seating sections, and in downtown at the Pirate Street Fest.




Are strollers allowed?

Yes, strollers are allowed. In reserved seating sections, strollers must be stowed under the bleachers or in a non-obstructive area on ground level.



Can I put up a tent, or reserve an area with rope or snow fence?

Tents of any kind or reserving an area with rope or fencing is strictly prohibited. You may “reserve” viewing space along the parade route in designated areas by arriving early (any time after dawn) and physically occupying the desired space. You are welcome to bring a chair or blanket.


What happens if it rains?

The pirates will invade and the parade will march on even in the rain! However, if there is a dangerous weather situation during the event, that threatens the safety of Gasparilla participants or guests, EventFest, in coordination with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa, reserves the right to cancel the parade.


10 News listed  the Street Closure Schedule as follows:

Sunday, January 17 – Thursday, February 4, 2016
Median Closures at DeSoto Ave, Nance Ave, Albany Ave & Gunby Ave at Bayshore Blvd
Friday, January 29, 2016 @ 10:00 PM
Bayshore Blvd from Gandy Blvd to Platt St
Bay to Bay from Bayshore Blvd to Ysabella St
Davis Islands Bridge Off Ramp onto NB Bayshore Dr

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 3:00 AM 
Bayshore Blvd from Brorein St to Platt St
Platt St/Channelside Dr from Plant Ave to Franklin St

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 5:30 AM 
Crosstown- EB Willow Ave Off Ramp (Exit 4)
Willow Ave from Platt St to Swann Ave (SB lanes closed only, 1-way NB)

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 7:00 AM
Ashley Dr from Brorein St to Jackson St
Brorein St from Florida Ave to Parker St
Franklin St from Channelside Dr to Harbour Island Bridge
Old Water St from Florida Ave to Franklin St
Washington St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Whiting St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Whiting St from Florida Ave to Franklin St (WB)
Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 9:00 AM
Kennedy from Hyde Park Ave to Ashley Dr (EB)
Ashley Dr from Cass St to Jackson St
Jackson St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Kennedy Blvd from Florida Ave to Plant Ave (WB)
Madison St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Madison St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Twiggs St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Zack St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Zack St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Polk St from Ashley Dr to Tampa St
Polk St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)
Tyler St from Florida Ave to Tampa St (WB)

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 11:00 AM
Cass St from Willow Ave to N Blvd
North A St from Willow Ave to Newport Ave
North B St from Willow Ave to Newport Ave
Fig St from Willow Ave to Gilchrist Ave
Carmen St from Willow Ave to Delaware Ave
Newport Ave from Cass St to North A St
Gilchrist Ave from Cass St to Fig St

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 1:30 PM
Cass St from N Blvd to Tampa St
Tyler St from Tampa St to Cass St

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 3:00 PM
Bay-to-Bay Blvd from MacDill Ave to Ysabella Ave (EB)
Swann Ave from MacDill Ave to Armenia Ave (EB lanes closed only, 1-way WB)
Platt St at Howard Ave (EB)
Platt St at S Blvd (EB)
Willow Ave from Kennedy Blvd to Cleveland St
Willow Ave from Cleveland St to Platt St (SB)
South Blvd from Kennedy Blvd to Cleveland St
South Blvd from Cleveland St to Platt St (SB)
Whiting St from Tampa St to Franklin St

Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 4:30 PM
Kennedy Blvd at Himes Ave (EB)
Kennedy Blvd at MacDill Ave (EB)
Kennedy Blvd at Howard Ave (EB)
Kennedy Blvd at Willow Ave (EB)
Kennedy Blvd at Blvd (EB)


Please enjoy the Gasparilla Pirate Fest responsibly.