By CURT ANDERSON, associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – For over 100 years, Tampa has celebrated pirate lore called Gasparella. Avast, mateys, it is not at this time.
This Mystic Crewe of Gasparella represented the old guard of Tampa when the event began in 1904 and is still at stake. This year’s event was postponed and then canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic. The group now says that the next one will not be held until January 2022.
Thousands of people attend the Gasparella parade annually, as beads and other wrinkles are thrown from boats, some resembling pirate ships and firing cannons. It runs along Tampa Bay on the Baishore Boulevard.
The parade includes music, marching bands, and lots of music. Some people, turned to pirates, even shouted, “Argh!” Or maybe, “Aye!”
One attraction is the mock invasion of Tampa by members of the “Crewe”, who were fully dressed as pirates from a 165-foot (50-m) sailing vessel, which came from the 18th century. The idea is that they want to “loot and harm” the city.
The organization announced, “After several conversations with friends, we are sad to announce that our crev will remain offshore until the sea is calm.” “Our vows, we will return in 2022!”
The parade consists of 60 or so “krewes” who perform charitable and social events throughout the year.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor also weighed tongue in cheek with an online statement praising the decision to cancel this year.
“Now we have more time in the city of Tampa when they roll down the hatch and take out the cannons, because there is no doubt that those who pirate well will be more than the city key next year! ” She wrote.
Organizers say it is one of the largest parades in America. It was scheduled in April this year after initial planning was delayed due to the global epidemic.
Several other major events have been canceled or postponed due to coronaviruses, including the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans and elsewhere.
The event in Tampa is named after Jose Gaspar, a Spanish Pirate dubbed the “Last of the Buccaneers”, hence the name of the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team.
Truth be told, Gaspar was said to have roamed the Gulf Coast of Florida before his death, in or about 1821, when Spain ceded Florida to the United States. It is not clear exactly who he was, but the story has captured Tampa.
The next parade is now scheduled on January 22, 2022, preceded by a children’s parade on January 22.
Follow the AP epidemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.
Copyright 2021 associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.