Gasparilla Pirate Invasion Sets Its Sights on the Tampa Convention Center


View from the Tampa Convention Center shows the Gasparilla Ship docked at the convention center boating docks and a large crowd awaiting the pirates along the Tampa Riverwalk.

Batten down the hatches! Gasparilla pirates are planning to invade City of Tampa shores and drop anchor at our convention center boating docks.

This beloved tradition brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to Tampa in celebration of the mythical Spanish Pirate, Jose Gaspar (AKA Gasparilla). The invasion, followed by the Gasparilla Pirate Fest parade, is the main event of Gasparilla season.

The Jose Gaspar will set sail from the south end of the Hillsborough Bay around 11:30am, and dock at the Tampa Convention Center around 1:00pm. This event will draw thousands of spectators as the ghastly ship crosses Seddon Channel and drops anchor at our building.

Once docked, pirates will storm the Tampa Riverwalk and demand the key to the city from Mayor Bob Buckhorn. The pirates will then continue to Bayshore Boulevard where the Pirate Fest parade will continue the pirate merriment.

Below we’ve outlined some important information and tips your krewe needs to know about the event.



Gasparilla Invasion Brunch – Tampa Convention Center

The official Gasparilla Pirate Fest Invasion Brunch takes place at the Tampa Convention Center from 9:30am-1:00pm. This ticketed event includes a full brunch buffet and allows you to secure the best view of the ship as it docks on our waterfront.

The menu includes a hot buffet, a carving station, hot and cold beverages, baked items, seasonal fruit, assorted cheese, and more.

To purchase tickets to the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch, visit:

Free Viewing at The Sail

In addition to the Invasion Brunch viewing, you can also view the Gasparilla invasion for free from The Sail. The Sail will be shutting down the circle drive to host a number of food trucks in addition to their floating bars. This will maximize pedestrian access to the waterfront in order to give spectators the best free viewing of the event.

The Sail's Gasparilla Invasion food truck lineup includes:

  • Bacon Boss
  • Impasto
  • Fishin Chicken
  • I Wanna Wok

** Please note, construction is currently in progress near The Sail’s building for the new Sail Plaza and Big Ray’s Fish Camp.



Please note, there will be heavy traffic in Tampa’s Downtown on Saturday due to the Gasparilla Invasion and Pirate Festival. We recommend arriving early to give yourself ample time to park.  

There will also be several road closures in and around Tampa’s Downtown due to Gasparilla. For a full traffic advisory, visit:

The Tampa Convention Center garage will be open at 7am. However, due to the high traffic volume, we anticipate that it will fill quickly. Other City of Tampa garages include the South Regional Garage, the Fort Brooke Garage, and the Poe Garage.

Below we have listed out top parking recommendations on where to leave your vessel.

  • Tampa Convention Center Garage (Tampa St & Brorein St) will open at 7:00 a.m. at a rate of $10 per vehicle entry.
  • Ft. Brooke Garage (Whiting St., between Franklin St. & Florida Ave.) will open at 7:00 a.m. at a rate of $10 per vehicle entry.
  • Poe Garage (Ashley St., south of Cass St.) will open at 7:00 a.m. at a rate of $10 per vehicle entry. Due to the parade route, this garage will close from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Customers will not be able to enter or exit this garage until after 6:00 p.m. For those attending the 8:30 p.m. show at the Straz Center, Poe Garage will reopen at 6:30 p.m. and there will be a $10.00 flat rate upon entry.
  • parking in Ybor and take the FREE streetcar or hart shuttle to Dick Greco Plaza. 

Free Streetcar and HART Bus Shuttle Services

HART will be offering FREE transportation between Ybor City and Tampa's Downtown via the streetcar and a hart bus service. 

The Tampa Streetcar will offer free continuous service from Sation #2 (Centro Ybor) to Station #10 (Dick Greco Plaza) located just outside our building. The Centro Ybor station is the only station that will run continuous service all day from 8:30am-2:30am. Other stations will be running on a limited schedule. For more information about the Tampa Streetcar, visit

 In addition, HART will offer free continuous service between Station 3 (Streetcar Society Station), Station 4 (Cadrecha Station), and Downtown Tampa Station 10 (Dick Greco Plaza) from 9:30a-7:00p.

Free continuous service is also available from the Port AurhtorityAuthorityarage in the Channel Distirct and Station 10 (Dick Greco Plaza). 

For more information about these free transportation options, visit: 


The Tampa Police Department would like to remind attendees to keep safety in mind during the event. If you see something suspicious, like an unattended package, report it immediately to the closest police officer. Officers will be located all along the parade route on Bayshore Boulevard and throughout downtown.

For more safety tips and information visit:

To have Gasparilla event updates and important info sent directly to your phone, text ‘GASPARILLA’ to 888-777.



Stay connected with the Tampa Convention Center and share your Gasparilla experience by tagging our social media accounts! We will be posting live from the event, so join the fun by tagging us at @TheTampaCC.




For more information about Gasparilla, visit their website at