Fun sailing with Gasparilla continues until April

Tampa’s 101st Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of Pirates came Saturday with its usual lively flair. The annual celebration kicked off with the invasion of Jose Gaspar and his krewe at the Tampa Convention Center, and the parade continued down Bayshore Boulevard with no shortage of colorful buccaneers, beads and beer.

Although the Parade of Pirates is over, festivities in honor of Gasparilla have just begun, and the next few weeks will bring more opportunities to get in on the fun.

On Feb. 13, the Krewe of the Knights of Sant’ Yago will host its annual Illuminated Knight Parade in Ybor City. While it isn’t an official Gasparilla event, the Knight Parade has followed the Parade of Pirates every year since 1974.

According to the Krewe’s website, the nighttime parade will feature illuminated floats, costumed participants and marching bands. There will also be plenty of beads, of course.

The Knight Parade is set to start at 7 p.m. at Nuccio Parkway and end approximately two hours later on 22nd Avenue.

After the parade, Club Prana will continue the celebration with its Gasparilla Knight Parade After Party event, which starts at 9 p.m. Many other nearby clubs and bars are also expected to host similar parties.

Just a week after the Knight Parade, the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic will be held at the Tampa Convention Center. According to the event’s website, there will be runs of different lengths, challenges and team events over the course of the weekend of Feb. 20.

Funds raised will be donated to youth charity organizations around the Tampa Bay area, such as St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation.

On Feb. 27, live music and entertainment will fill Channelside for the Gasparilla Outward Bound Voyage, starting at 2 p.m. Attendees can watch and wave as Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla sets sail, ending their invasion of Tampa.

Even with the pirates’ departure, there are still a few more Gasparilla events in March and early April.

The Gasparilla Festival of the Arts will take place March 5 and 6 at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. There will be live entertainment, food and drinks, vendors and, of course, art for all to enjoy. Artwork ranges from photography and paintings, to pottery, wood carvings, mixed media and much more. Some artists may even have work for sale.

The second weekend of March will bring the Gasparilla Music Festival, which will have stages at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Gardens Park. The event’s website stated the event will “feature musical acts from a wide variety of genres on several stages and cuisine from the region’s top restaurants.”

This year’s line-up for the festival includes local talent such as Samurai Shotgun and Serotonic, as well as nationally recognized artists such as Erykah Badu, MS MR and Houndmouth.

The Gasparilla International Film Festival will round out the Gasparilla season, taking place from March 30 to April 3. This year’s schedule will be released on the festival’s website March 1 and will specify times and locations for the events.