Is Gasparilla Really a Treasure to Tampa Bay?


Tampa Bay Times

A group of pirates tosses beads to a crowd waiting below in 2023’s Gasparilla parade. The event took place on January 28, and resulted in countless groups celebrating together. Photo Courtesy of Tampa Bay Times.

For those not from Tampa, the term ‘Gasparilla’ might sound like something out of a movie. For locals however, ‘Gasparilla’ is considered a day full of beads, pirates, and celebrating with friends. Tampa residents dressing up and attempting to catch beaded necklaces thrown from ships is seen as a holiday to some. But with partying and a mess to cleanup afterwards, many have questioned whether this parade is worth it or not. 

“This is my second year going. Honestly, it’s just a good time with my friends and I feel bad for places that don’t have it,” said senior Ashley Yazvac. 

Typically, Gasparilla is an all-day event that starts in the early day and lasts until late night. Due to the high capacity, transportation can be a large issue for those who do not live close to the area. With low parking and long walks, this event is a large commitment for those who choose to go. 

Along with this, the parade having such high popularity comes with disadvantages such as extensive litter being left behind. Cleanup can take up to days, leaving the busy road the parade takes place on closed for this time.  

“My AP Environmental class had a cleanup the morning after [Gasparilla]. It sounded really helpful, and I wish I could’ve gone to help,” stated junior Carson Wydra. 

Despite the disadvantages of this large parade, Gasparilla has proven itself to be a way to bring Tampa together year after year. This year’s parade was no exception, and many attendees are already anticipating next year’s celebrations.