Tampa, FL

CANCELED: Annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival Celebration Canceled Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Carlos Hernandez

Gasparilla, an annual celebration in Tampa that brings people from all walks of life down to Florida to party in pirate costumes and to participate in parades, has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. The event has been occurring since 1904 with some limited interruptions.

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Gasparilla in January of 2020 before the pandemic.

The event was previously postponed and usually occurs in late January/early February and runs from Downtown Tampa to South Tampa. Normally thousands descend on the city and are allowed to drink in public during the adult parade. The event is known for its hooligan nature and normally draws a wide-range of sponsors.

It is normally thought to be a big cash grab for both hotels and local bars and businesses. This year there will be no such boost. Organize state that out of an abundance of caution, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG) and EventFest announced the cancellation of Tampa's signature Gasparilla Parades planned for April 10th and April 17th. The decision resulted from an ongoing dialogue between event organizers, city leaders, and healthcare experts.

"We hoped to safely and effectively hold Children's Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay and Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest, but believe it is our community's best interest to refrain from hosting festivities this year," said Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Captain Peter Lackman.

"The pirate invasion will continue in 2022, with the excitement and revelry that Tampa Bay has come to know and love."

The new date for the Children's Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay will be Saturday, January 22, 2022, and the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest will be Saturday, January 29, 2022. The closing event, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's Outbound Voyage, will now set sail on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

Tickets for the 2021 Children's Gasparilla and Gasparilla Pirate Fest are eligible for a refund, or ticket purchasers can elect to roll over a credit on their account to 2022 festivities. Ticket holders who choose to keep the credit on their account will receive an additional 15% bonus in value that can be used towards the purchase of tickets or merchandise.

Ticket holders can also opt to donate the value of their tickets to the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla Community Fund, which supports scholarships for exceptional high school seniors in the Tampa Bay area, community food programs, and more. Ticket holders will receive further information by email or can contact office@eventfest.com or (813) 251-8844.

Super Bowl Superspreader Events Sting

Tampa and Florida were widely criticized recently for what is being called a Super Bowl Superspreader event where thousands of people were seen on camera maskless after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LV.

Zero citations were given by the police during these events according to Creative Loafing Tampa and numerous businesses could be facing ramifications for consistently ignoring city pandemic rules during the Super Bowl weekend.

Many healthcare workers called it a slap in the face to see so many unmasked and have gone on the record stating their concern about seeing numerous people maskless both during Super Bowl weekend and at the celebration parade afterwards.

A tit for tat has ensued since the Super Bowl between the Biden Administration and the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, who was photographed maskless at the Super Bowl. Florida is one of the top states showing evidence of spread in the new COVID-19 variants which spread up to 70% more than the original virus. No action has been taken at this time by the White House.

WUSF is reporting that 87 of the 225 deaths reported today in Florida due to COVID-19 were in the Tampa Bay area. 1,803,893 Floridians have been infected with COVID-19 since last March and 33,392 non-residents have been infected, according to the Florida Department of Health. 76,525 have been hospitalized and 29,154 Florida residents have been reported dead so far from COVID-19. 505 non-Florida residents have died in the state from the virus.

In the race to vaccinate for COVID-19 in Florida, 3,566,600 doses have been administered so far with 1,294,674 getting their first dose and 1,135,963 completing the vaccine rounds. Vaccinations have fallen drastically in recent days with a record low on Valentine’s Day at 23,087 compared to 124,933 on February 12th.

Officials have said that doses will also be impacted by the current hazard weather in the midwest.

Sources: Florida Department of Health, WUSF, Yahoo News, Creative Loafing

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I am a writer who covers a number of topics from food to politics and everything in between. Contact: carloshernandesu@gmail.com

Tampa, FL
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