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Tampa Residents Create Their own Gasparilla 2021

By Jolie Prins

On Saturday, April 17, there was a massive boat parade. But for what? The citizens very own Gasparilla 2021.

Gasparilla was initially planned for its expected date around late January until the city and the crew that works with the town decided to postpone the date until later in the spring. 

However, in the middle of February, the city of Tampa felt it was the best decision to cancel Gasparilla for the year 2021 and be ready to host for the year 2022.

Things in this day and age are safe to say getting “canceled” pretty frequently.

This did not settle well with the citizens of Tampa, especially Jake Hoffman, who was one of the organizers of the massive boat parade on Saturday. 

He felt that if the city can sanction two different parades for both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tampa Bay Bucs, Gasparilla should live. 

Hoffman is also president of a group in Tampa, known as Tampa Bay Young Republicans.

On Facebook, from the Tampa Bay Young Republicans, they advertised Saturday’s gathering. 

“ARRGHH! Pirates don’t cancel invasions, and they don’t take orders from tyrants! If the Bucs can throw a boat parade, so can Ye!” read the advertisement. 

There was an approximate number of 1000 people who attended the boat parade held on Saturday. 

The trip was planned and started at Davis Island, and then the boats paraded up the river to then come back around out to the bay to head to Beer Can Island, where there was a party being held from noon until 6:00 pm. 

Hoffman also stated that it should be up to the people if they want to attend massive gatherings, and if they do not feel comfortable, they do not have to follow. 

I personally agree with Hoffman. How is it fair for the city to host two parades for the two sports teams, but it is not okay with holding a celebration for Tampa itself? 

The city hosted a massive Super Bowl weekend packed full of multiple events that brought in thousands and thousands of people from all over the country. 

There were also two events planned on the land side of things in the city of Tampa. This included bars in Soho to be packed and a rush of people around Tampa for the weekend. 

In Downtown Tampa, there were over 15 bars that participated in an event called Barrr Invasion. Some tickets are required to be purchased to attend the event. When a ticket was purchased, that included five free drinks at five different bars. 

This caught many people’s attention. Did people forget about COVID-19?

The second event held was called Gasparilla Brunch Party, at American Social located on Harbour Island. 

The event needed tickets purchased to attend as well. This included an open bar service, live music, and a brunch buffet with a purchased ticket. 

“I attended all three of the events (boat parade, Barrr Invasion, & Brunch Party), and they were absolutely packed with people,” said Sarah Newcomb “I thought it was great though to have our own Gasparilla since I am about to graduate and everything seems to be cancelled.”

Overall, the citizens of Tampa felt it was a good weekend to have and enjoy one of the cities greatest traditions despite all the stress going on in the world.

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