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Gasparilla's Usual Suspects

We've seen our share of Gasparillas. As spectators and journalists, we have documented year after year the boisterous behavior of our fellow Tampa Bayites, caught up in the heady throes of the annual spectacle celebrating a pirate invasion that never actually occurred.

So if you want a quick rundown on the sort of person you will see at Gasparilla, you've come to the right place. For good or ill, we've met each and every person in our little lineup.

Mostly ill.
Don't, however, misconstrue our cheekiness as an attempt to dissuade you from going to Gasparilla. We're just having a little fun. If you live in this area, you should experience this party at least once, and quite a few more times if you have an invitation to a private party after the parade or are a member of a krewe.

If you're going, expect road delays and don't think you'll just simply drive away once the parade ends. Doesn't work like that. Take your time and enjoy yourself. And please, whatever you do, don't emulate The Urinator. It's just wrong. Also, illegal.


Fashion Statement: black pants, puffy shirt, bandana and/or skull and crossbones hat, eye patch and scars — many, many scars.

Known Behavior: Stumbles down Bayshore Boulevard inflicting his "arrrrrgh" breath (beer, whiskey and cigars) on unsuspecting paradegoers.


Fashion Statement: Wrinkled khaki shorts, tank top and Hawaiian shirt.

Known Behavior: Often seen pulling Radio Flyer wagon with keg in it. Shows impatience while in line for a Port-O-Let, then stalks off, eventually marking his territory on a tree or by writing his name on a sidewalk.


Fashion Statement: Beads so plentiful around the neck, he or she can't stand up straight.

Known Behavior: Abrasively jockeying for position on the parade route, showing no remorse for snatching 2-cent beads from hands of small children.


Fashion Statement: Men: Starched Bermuda shorts, Tommy Bahama shirt. Women: Lacoste tennis dress. Both: Crocs and a red face.

Known Behavior: Erects temporary orange fence to keep out hordes, while attempting to maim trespassers by ordering their yippy lap dogs to nip at paradegoers' ankles. Also known for opening front door, waving fist in the air while yelling "Get off my lawn!" Arch enemy: The Urinator.


Fashion Statement: Hannah Montana or Ben 10 T-shirt, Heelies and temporary cheek tattoo.

Known Behavior: Unparalleled wailing in reaction to being crushed by crowds and victimized by Bead Hogs.


Fashion Statement: Surgically enhanced bosom adorned in bikini top or cutoff Gators T-shirt.

Known Behavior: Precariously perched on bow of a watercraft baring her soul for the Drunken Pirates aboard the Jose Gasparilla barge.


Fashion Statement: Powder blue conservative suit, Lenscrafter wire-rim glasses and '70s hairdo.

Known Behavior: Annually handing over keys to the city with a smile on her face to miscreants who leave a wake of destruction.

If You're Going

The Gasparilla 2009 Pirate Fest

WHEN: The Pirate Invasion runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the best views on Davis Islands, Harbour Island and the Tampa Bay Convention Center, where the Jose Gasparilla pirate ship docks at 1 p.m.

The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates runs from 2 to 5:30 p.m. down Bayshore Boulevard, beginning at Bay to Bay Boulevard. It ends downtown at Jackson and Marion streets. The best views are along Bayshore or on Channelside Drive.

The Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival starts at 10 a.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. on Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa between Kennedy Boulevard and Channelside Drive. This is much like a fair midway, with rides, games, music and other amusements. There are stages scattered throughout downtown with live bands.

COST: Free. For information, go to and search events for "Gasparilla."

Which Character Are You?

Take our quiz and find out whether you're a Bawdy Bimbo or a Drunken Pirate. You might be surprised

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