Gasparilla Pirate Fest Hits Tampa on Saturday

On Saturday, January 31, the 2015 Gasparilla Pirate Fest will once again be in full force in the Tampa area. Each year, this unique, historic pirate-themed festival, which is hosted by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, takes over and gives the coastal city a chance to celebrate the legend of a mythical Spanish pirate captain. The main aspect of the festival involves a pirate "invasion," which consists of a parade of hundreds of boats. Several other smaller parades occur as well, including a more children-friendly event and a night parade.

Other related events that are hosted in the spring include:

  • Gasparilla Festival of the Arts
  • Gasparilla Film Festival
  • Gasparilla Pageant & Fashion Festival
  • Gasparilla Music Festival
  • Gasparilla Distance Classic

As a whole, the Gasparilla Pirate Fest has an enormous economic impact on the local area, with an estimated 300,000 people in the crown for the main parade alone. It is believed that more than a million people attend at least one event. In 2007, one study showed that all of the events had a $40 million local economic impact.

The Dangers of Gasparilla: Spike in Arrests

Unfortunately, the pirate festival is not always just fun and games. In fact, for many people, the celebration is cut short. With an increased police presence, there is often a huge spike in arrests over the weekend.

Consider the following statistics regarding past Gasparilla festivals:

  • 2010 – 415 Arrests
  • 2011 – Nearly 350 Arrests
  • 2012 – 302 Citations & 50 Arrests
  • 2013 – 131 Citations & 68 Arrests
  • 2014 – 3 Felony Arrests & 39 Misdemeanors

How to Have Fun & Be Safe This Weekend

Although arrests have been on a steady decline, it is still warned that all partygoers be safe when enjoying the Gasparilla events this upcoming weekend.

Just some of the prohibited items include the following:

  • Styrofoam Cups & Containers
  • Glass Containers
  • Coolers (ex: Exceptions Made for Medical Needs)
  • Tents, Fences, Stakes, or Rope

There will also be zero tolerance for underage alcohol consumption, disruptive behavior, and quality of life issues. The following may result in an arrest:

If You Get Arrested, Contact Our Tampa Criminal Lawyers

At Thomas & Paulk, we have represented several individuals who were arrested while enjoying the Gasparilla events. Having handled thousands of criminal cases, our criminal defense attorneys have the experience needed to craft a strong defense.

For example, we once represented a college student who was arrested for underage possession of alcohol while attending the main Gasparilla parade. We took on the case and proved that our client had no criminal record. We negotiated with the State Attorney and were ultimately able to convince the State to drop the charges in exchange for our client performing 16 hours of community service.

If you or someone you love are arrested or receive a citation, we encourage you to contact our Tampa criminal defense law firm as soon as possible.

Get in touch with us today for a free evaluation of your case.