Pirates invaded Tampa Bay! This has been going on for the better part of 200 years and it a colorful piece of history. January brings the month-long festivities known as Gasparilla, named for pirate Jose Gaspar who shook up the Bay Area in the early 1800’s.
To kick it all off, seafarers took to the seas and sailed into the bay reenacting an invasion. This is the first time I’ve ever participated in the fun, and really the first time I’ve been home during the festival since becoming of age to legally imbibe rum. This year, it’s ON.
By 7 a.m. I had joined a band of pirates and headed for the waters…or, house parties in and around the parade route. Thankfully, a few fabulous newlywed swashbucklers threw a brunch complimented with barrels of fireball whisky, additional spirits, and pirates’ gold.
I’m really not a big drinker, but I knew I wasn’t leaving the area for many hours, and had many miles to walk, so throwing caution to the wind, we buccaneers became three sheets to the wind. I had consumed more alcohol before 10 a.m. than I had in the previous 3 months. And we probably did 6 miles, me… in very uncomfortable cowboy boots, so I feel it was all very well metabolized.
All in all, a fantastic kickoff to the festival season. I hope to get out for more events in between my travels. There’s a distance classic, but shhhooo, a 5k is more my limit, so we’ll see what happens. I’m really IN for anything where I can wear a costume.