Looking forward to Gasparilla, one of Tampa’s oldest and most “treasured” traditions? In case you’re not familiar with Gasparilla, here’s a little bit of background on the event:
- 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. He supposedly left a treasure buried somewhere along the Florida coast (which has never been discovered).
- After being cancelled last year due to COVID-19, the pirate invasion will take place this year on January 29th beginning at 11:30am. The parade will follow from 2-6pm.
- To learn more about the events, check out the official website.
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 mateys safe.
- Stay Hydrated
- Drink a lot of water the day before and in the morning before you leave
- Non-alcoholic beverages are permitted: Bring cash to buy water from vendors or bring your own water bottle which you can refill
- 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.
- Practice COVID-19 Safety Precautions
- If you’re not already, make sure that you are fully vaccinated and boostered. Call or visit USF Student Health Services for appointment availability.
- Consider wearing a mask, especially in places where you can’t adequately socially distance from those around you.
- If possible, get tested for COVID-19 a day or two before the event.
- If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, avoid attending large gatherings such as this.
- Pack a bag with the essentials
- Charged phone
- Wallet with ID and Cash
- Facemask and Hand Sanitizer
- Water bottle
- Snacks (opt for healthy snacks that contain more water, such as oranges, apples, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers instead of salty treats)
- A piece of paper with your friends’ phone numbers on their in case your phone battery dies.
*Since Gasparilla can be crowded and hectic, pack light and avoid bringing anything that you don’t want to lose.
- If you are 21+ and choose to drink:
- Alternate between water and drinks that contain alcohol and pace yourself to no more than 1 standard drink/hour (12oz beer, hard seltzer; 5oz wine, 1.5 oz liquor)
- Don’t accept any drinks from strangers
- Keep track of your friends who are drinking to make sure they stay safe and hydrated
- 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 in mind that alcohol is permitted only to those 21+ in the designated “wet zones”:
- Get home safe
- Take an Uber or a Lyft. Travel with friends to split the cost. You can also get $3.50 off your ride by following these instructions
- Note: Because of traffic and road closures, you may have to walk to a safe place for a ride to pick you up.
- If you are sober or 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’s maps app.
Looking for more tips or information? Find the Center for Student Well-Being’s Peer Health Educators at the following events:
- Fri Jan 21, 8-10pm: Bulls Nite Out Gas-BULL-Rilla | MSC
- Wed Jan 26, 9am-2pm: Bull Market | MSC Lawn
- Thurs Jan 27, 2-4 pm | Greek Village
- Follow @WellnessUSF on Instagram!
Have a great Gasparilla!! Arrgh!