Who is excited for the Gasparilla parade at the end of this month? Not familiar with Gasparilla? Well first, here’s a little bit of background about this Tampa tradition:
- It is the third largest parade in the United States, and the oldest pirate festival in the world (it’s been taking place since 1904)!
- Legendary pirate Jose Gaspar is the namesake of this parade, who terrorized the coastal waters of W Florida during the late 18th and early 19th century and supposedly left an treasure buried somewhere along the Florida coast (which has never been discovered)
- The pirate invasion takes place on the last Saturday in January (the 26th this year) beginning at 11am
- To learn more about the events going on this weekend, check out the official website: http://gasparillapiratefest.com/main-festival/parade/#information
While this is a fun event to check out (pirate costumes encouraged!), there are a few things you should be aware of before you set sail to keep you and your mates safe.
- Stay Hydrated
- Drink a lot of water in the morning before you leave.
- Non-alcoholic beverages are permitted: Bring cash to buy water from vendors or bring your own water bottle.
- Avoid sugary and/or caffeinated drinks, which will dehydrate you more. Opt for sports drinks, natural juices, or carbonated water instead of soda or drinks with added sugars.
- Pack a bag with the essentials
- Charged phone
- Wallet with ID and Cash
- Snacks (opt for healthy snacks that contain more water, such as oranges, apples, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers instead of salty treats)
**Small coolers/lunchboxes are also permitted, so stock up if you don’t want to buy from vendors while you’re there
- A piece of paper with your friends’ phone numbers on their in case your phone dies.
- If you do choose to drink:
- Alternate between water and drinks that contain alcohol and pace yourself to no more than 1 standard drink/hour.
- Don’t accept any drinks from strangers
- Know your limits: know the factors that influence your BAC. Stop by the Center for Student Well-Being offices in SVC 2127 for a free BAC card and to learn more
- Keep track of your friends who are drinking to make sure they stay safe and hydrated also
- Keep in mind that alcohol is permitted only to those 21+ in the designated “wet zones”:
- Get home safe
- 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.
- Take an Uber or a Lyft. *Get $5 off your Lyft ride by following these instructions!
- If your crew has a designated driver (e.g. a person who won’t have ANY alcohol/drugs the entire time), make sure you remember where you park by writing down the cross streets or “dropping a pin” on your phone maps app.
Have a great Gasparilla!! Arrgh!