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.

  1. Stay Hydrated
    1. Drink a lot of water in the morning before you leave.
    2. Non-alcoholic beverages are permitted: Bring cash to buy water from vendors or bring your own water bottle.
    3. 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.
  1. Pack a bag with the essentials
    1. Charged phone
    2. Wallet with ID and Cash
    3. Water
    4. 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

  1. A piece of paper with your friends’ phone numbers on their in case your phone dies.


  1. If you do choose to drink:
    1. Alternate between water and drinks that contain alcohol and pace yourself to no more than 1 standard drink/hour.
    2. Don’t accept any drinks from strangers
    3. 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
    4. Keep track of your friends who are drinking to make sure they stay safe and hydrated also
    5. Keep in mind that alcohol is permitted only to those 21+ in the designated “wet zones”:



  1. Get home safe
    1. 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.
    2. Take an Uber or a Lyft. *Get $5 off your Lyft ride by following these instructions!
    3. 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!