Essentially celebrated as a holiday in Tampa Bay, Florida, Gasparilla, otherwise known as Gaspy, was Saturday, January 28th this year. People of the sunshine state and travelers lined the streets and crowded in resturants, hotels, and bars for this massive event. So if you've never been to Gaspy before, like myself, maybe you're wondering, is it really worth all the hype behind it?
For those who are unaware of what Gasparilla is, to put it simply: It's a pirate festival. Yes, you heard me right. Picture people from floats in the parade to boaters passing by on the bay throwing beads like Mardi Gras in New Orleans with a pirate ship sailing in the bay with canons going off. People young and old alike go all out in their pirate ensembles, some with fake parrots, swords, and eyepatches. Girls are dressed in their tiniest shorts and skirts with matching billowing crop tops and corsets, a college boys dream *insert hehart eyed emoji here*. Too bad the only places to hookup with said pirate-ladies are port-a-potties with lines of 10+ others waiting, unless you want to spend a ridiculuous amount on a hotel room on the bay for the event, by all means, go for it.
Speaking from the perspective of a college student, if you're looking to get lit starting at 7 in the morning until your liver can't take it anymore, then this is the place for you. According to Total Frat Move, they published an article claiming, "Gasparilla Pirate Festival Is The Best College Day Drinking Experience In The Country." If you're a college student from anywhere in the state of Florida, get yourself on a bus from FSU, UCF, UF, FAU, FIU, UM, anywhere with oxygen and experience this alcohol-fiasco for yourself. Since it's not tailgate season anymore, where else can kill whole kegs, camelbacks filled with your drinks of choice, dance to DJ's who think they should be on the main stage at Ultra, and not to mention, dress up like a pirate?
So here's a general overview of how the days goes for most college-goers:
Wake up with a 1.) Mimosa if you're a "classy" lady or a 2.) Jack & Coke (because that's pirate-approved, right?), also it's advisable that you eat something considering that'll be your only meal of the day
Work your way to a pregame of your choosing & hop on the bus because who wants to pay an outrageous Uber fare?
If you're lucky enough to have a lot rented for this then hit up the inevitable alcohol-booth run by frat boys who think they've been bartenders for years, with the gag-worthy Skol vodka and off-brand soda & start socializing, taking pictures for the 'gram, and dancing.
The parade starts... If you're lucky enough to still be coherent enough to watch the parade/even leave the parking lot. By this time most people are either getting arrested, making out with a stranger, flashing their boobs for beads, or dead.
Most of the actual Gaspy festivities have taken place, if you're still alive, good for you but you obviously didn't drink enough.
After 6:00 p.m.
Feel free to continue to drink and hit up local bars in downtown Tampa but try not to trip over the beads and passed out people on the side of the street.
So to answer this question: Is Gaspy really worth the hype?
Absolutely... If you can honestly survive because we all know, most don't. Following Gasparilla you can hear most people claim, "I'm never drinking again." Have no fear though, there's 364 days for you to recover for next year.