Category : Articles
Sub Category : Travel
The sky was overcast and a dense fog covered the world this morning as I made made my way along the Riverwalk. It wasn't cold because the air was so still, but even so there was an edge to the atmosphere that made me curl inside myself as I moved along the river.
When I turned the corner of The Sail Pavilion I saw a ship. It was murky and looked surreal cloaked in the fog. The sight threw me back to the 1800s to a time when pirates terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida. I knew the history of it. Jose Gaspar, who styled himself "Last of the Buccaneers" sailed a ship very similar to this one. The ship looming in front of me was a replica of a West Indiaman used in that time period. The ship was built of steel at 165 feet long by 35 feet across the beam. It also has three masts standing 100 feet tall. The rigging were lined with different colored cloths and seeing it like this filled me with wonder.
Every year over half a million people decend on Tampa's Downtown to take part in our annual Gasparilla Parade. A flotilla of ships, boats, canoes, skiffs and literally hundreds of vessels come into the bay. Their objective is to take the mayor of Tampa hostage and hold him for randsom until the senate turns over the keys to the city. Despite threats the council members refuse to meet the pirates demands. You can always tell the exact point when the refusal is issued because canons begin to fire and thousands of rounds of gunshots can be heard from one end of downtown to the other. The pirates are furious for being denied. The volume of noise is tremendous and immediately the police and military begin to scramble. All over the city police sirens and lights add to the noise and chaos. After a lengthy battle the pirates retreat with the mayor in tow threatening to come back for the money or the Mayor walks the plank.
The ship stays anchored here behind the convention center until the pirates come again exactly as they said they would, at which point the members of Congress turn over the keys to the pirates.
The parade is incredible with parade floats. Marching bands, jugglers, hawkers and of course, thousands and thousands of necklace beads are handed out by the rogues in celebration of their victory. It was very shrewed of them to share their booty with the civilian population. They were welcomed with cheers.
This is a must attend event and i encourage everyone, if you haven't attended this one, mark you calendar for next year. You wont regret it