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Pirates at the annual Tampa Pirate Festival

Preparing for a Pirate Festival

Major celebrations and festivals take place over the summer. With warm weather and plenty of sunshine, a day celebrating a fun event or occasion can bring out hundreds, or even thousands! A popular type of festival that pops up in many cities is pirate centered. That’s right; pirate festivals can take over towns for an entire week. In the case of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, summer is not necessary for the beautiful town of Tampa, Florida. This highly attended festival, and a great example of how to do a pirate festival correctly, takes place in January!

If you’re in the area, or you love pirates, consider a trip to this incredible event! To prepare, make sure to get ready for a few of these fun activities and events, as well as some tips to making the most of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. A number of really fun activities take place at a pirate festival. Of course, everyone comes decked out in their shanty-iest gear. Plus, everyone is ready to party like it is 1499. A few things to look out for at a pirate festival are some can’t miss events and activities that take place.


At the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, one of the biggest parts of the weekend is the Parade of the Pirates. The pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe take over the streets of downtown Tampa and show off all their frills and thrills. Their goal is to capture the key to the city. A parade is usually a straightforward event, but this one is full of fun-filled moments. For example, ships and carriages of pirates come down the road, including over 100 floats, five marching bands, and over 50 organizations giving their efforts to the cause. Will they capture the key to the city? They have the whole run of the downtown arts district to find out. If you consider yourself a fan of pirates and pirate style, the Parade of the Pirates at the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a must.

Group Meals

Any pirate crew worth their weight in gold is going to need to fuel up for a long day of ravaging. For that reason, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival and other pirate events often host group meals to get everyone in the spirit. Plan and gorge yourself in a feast fit for the seven seas at these events. The Gasparilla Invasion Brunch is a massive event that gives everyone the best view of the entire festival. The Ye Mystic Krewe sail into town and take over the Tampa Convention Center for a massive meal with their whole crew and you. For a ticket price, you can enjoy a buffet brunch, cash bar, and some of the most dedicated pirates from around the world. Many pirate festivals bring in visitors, but none more so than the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. Get to know your whole ship of pirates staying in Tampa for the weekend by attending the Invasion Brunch.


There are plenty of things to see and enjoy while you’re at a pirate festival. Pirate themed bands are all over and playing some sea enchanting music. Plus, there are live shows that depict pirate raids, famous pirate moments from movies, and other performances. There’s no shortage of entertainment when you’re at a pirate festival, and at a major event like the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, you often have to really try hard to avoid live shows and music.

Dressing and Decorating for a Pirate Festival

Everyone during Gasparilla is welcome to wear what they would like, but what’s the fun in skipping a costume and decorating?


For a true pirate look, attendees of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival do one of two things. First, you can go the easy route and grab a pirate outfit from a costume store. These come pre-assembled, and allow you to just purchase and put on the look. For a more fun way to enjoy a pirate festival, making a costume can be much more enjoyable. There are a few must-haves for a pirate outfit, and you can use this as your checklist as you make your plans for a pirate festival:

  • A pirate hat, donning skull and crossbones or other seaworthy signs
  • Eyepatch, to show off your battle wounds from scavenging the seven seas
  • Well-worn shirt, it’s okay to look like you’ve been spending most days on a boat without a change of clothes!
  • Hook, for those who lose their hands to gators or other battle worthy opponents
  • Other pirate garbs to show off your personal style


There’s nothing like making the place you stay feel like home while you celebrate the weekend. Plus, if you visit the Gasparilla Pirate Festival from out of town, you might want to leave a sign at home that you’ve gone to pillage the streets of Tampa. In that case, decorating your hotel or home with some pirate worthy decor can put everyone in a great mood for the pirate lifestyle. On the front lawn, you may want to place a pirate flag, donning skull and crossbones. These can even fly from your car if you buy one that clings to your window. You can also buy larger items of decoration like a pirate’s chest of gold, anchors, and even inflatable ships if you’re feeling especially dedicated. Some even go for the traditional Gasparilla wreath, but there’s another way to decorate the door if you’re looking for something extra special.

For another great way to stand out while you decorate for a pirate festival, consider a pirate door decoration fabric door cover. These wraps go over a door and are easy to put on and take off. They can even be washed for multiple uses. DoorFoto has a wide variety of great products on their site, including Gasparilla pirates, skulls and crossbones, and other pirate themed wraps. If you want to celebrate the Gasparilla Pirate Festival or similar events the right way, a door wrap from DoorFoto can really make the entire home look like a pirate-ready place for a party!







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