Tampa’s annual Gasparilla invasion is a Mardi Gras style party where pirates invade the city aboard a massive pirate ship and then parade down the waterfront firing their guns and throwing out beads to hundreds of thousands of revelers. It’s so much a part of the city’s identity that when Tampa was awarded an NFL franchise in 1976 they were given a pirate themed logo and called the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I’ve been taking part in the celebration my whole life but this year was my first on a float in the parade. Hopefully it won’t be my last. I joined Tampa Bay Buccaneers players, cheerleaders and staff aboard their pirate ship float to photograph the revelry along Bayshore Boulevard. It was a perfect Florida winter day that was ideal for making pictures and tossing some beads to the masses. Being a Buccaneer on Gasparilla just comes naturally.