What exactly is Gasparilla?
It’s the third largest parade in the country and the oldest pirate extravaganza in the world! This Saturday at 11:30 am, pirates will invade Bayshore Blvd. in downtown Tampa! Check out the full schedule of events here. Gasparilla is exciting and enjoyable, but hours of swashbuckling fun can lead to trouble and put a lot of stress on the body. Be smart about your actions, so you can enjoy the whole day!
Six ‘How-To’ Tips For the Best Gasparilla Ever!
How to Avoid Walking the Plank:
Do you know the rules of Gasparilla? If you don’t, you might walk the plank or fork up a hefty sum of doubloons. Look over these rules before you go, or check out the full list of rules here.
- No drugs, weapons, or fighting. However, pirate hooks are highly recommended.
- No public urination or nudity.
- No underage drinking is allowed. Last year, 31 misdemeanor arrests were for underage drinking.
- Know the alcohol rules. Last year, 63 alcohol citations (at least $75 in fines) were given out. If you are 21+ and plan on drinking at Gasparilla, know that kegs, coolers, and glass containers are prohibited, and no open containers are allowed outside wet zones. Know where the wet zones are by checking out this map before you go.
How to Keep Yerself Hydrated:
- Drink a lot of water in the morning and the day before. Start the day hydrated, and you can avoid dehydration later on.
- Non-alcoholic beverages are permitted. Bring cash to buy water from vendors, or keep water with you at all times by wearing a water bottle holder, canteen or hydration backpack. Gasparilla is hectic, so I don’t recommend bringing anything you don’t want to lose. If you run out of cash for water, refill at a nearby restaurant.
- Pack or buy snacks with high water contents. Opt for fruit, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and carrots over salty treats.
- If drinking, avoid mixing alcohol with sugary caffeinated drinks. The combination of alcohol, sugar, and caffeine can leave you extremely dehydrated. Go for natural juices or carbonated water rather than sodas and juices with added sugar.
How to Handle Yer Grog Safely:
- Alternate between water and alcohol, and take time in between drinks. Stay hydrated and avoid drinking too much too fast. Don’t grab that second drink if you don’t feel the effects of the first one right away. Alcohol absorption varies depending on your size and gender. To help you stay safe, grab a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) card at the Wellness Center (MSC 1504) or monitor your BAC online.
- Know what you are drinking. Don’t take free drinks from strangers. You have no clue what is in it or how much is in it. Check out this app to monitor how much alcohol is in your mixed drink.
- Don’t assume you know how much you can drink. Sleep, hydration, and climate contribute to the effect of alcohol. If you are dehydrated or tired, your BAC may rise faster.
How to Keep Track of Yer Crew:
- Keep your phone charged! Avoid uploading to social media during the festival, close out of apps, and don’t leave the camera on. You’ll need your phone if you lose track of a friend or get lost.
- Save numbers somewhere outside your phone. If your phone dies you’ll most likely need your friends’ numbers. Write down their numbers on one (or two) slip of paper and keep it in your shoe, pocket, etc.
- Watch what they’re drinking. You want your friends to stay as safe and hydrated as you are.
How to Feast Properly:
- Bring cash for food vendors. There are over 100 local vendors throughout the festival. THEY ONLY ACCEPT CASH.
- Bring your own snacks! I am hungry all the time, so I know a big breakfast or lunch will not tide me over long. Small soft coolers and lunchboxes are permitted, so stock up on healthy, energizing snacks.
How to Set Sail Safely:
- Call Alert Cab, a free taxi service for USF Students. You must be +21 or older, and the cab will only pick you up from an alcohol-serving establishment.
- If you drove there but can’t drive home, call Zingo, a designated driver service in Tampa! They charge a $10 flat fee and $3 for every extra mile. It ends up being around $30 to get back to the USF area. They drive your car back home for you, and they run from 9 pm – 4 am.
- Download Uber or Lyft if you did not drive and need a ride home.
- If you are sober and driving home,‘drop a pin’ or note the cross streets where you park your car. You’ll likely have some walking to do and there is nothing worse than walking in the opposite direction of your destination.