Visitors to the Florida have a variety of Tampa events and festivals to choose from that are sure to keep their itinerary full of entertainment. A very popular annual event in Tampa is the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion and Parade, which is held in February. Pirates on the Jose Gaspar ship sail into Tampa Bay decked out in full pirate gear with the Jolly Roger flying and take over the city.
A parade follows the invasion and is filled with floats, marching bands, and delegates from more than 50 district Krewes along Bayshore where costumed pirates toss beads, doubloons, and trinkets into the crowd. Each Krewe is an individual group of men and women from within the business community and organizations that participate in the Gasparilla festivities. The Krewes and their themed floats are part of the parade that ends in downtown Tampa, where the celebration continues with food vendors and live music. The parade route is crowded and parking is limited.
To coordinate with the Gasparilla event in Tampa, the annual Children's Parade takes place two-weeks prior to the Pirate Parade and follows the same route along Bayshore Boulevard. Both events are free except for reserved bleacher seating. If you find yourself in Tampa Bay in January, ahead of Gasparilla and the Children's Parade, one of the biggest annual events in the city is the Outback Bowl, played at Raymond James Stadium.
The variety of Tampa Florida events means that there will something to entertain any traveler. For instance, in historic Ybor City, one of the popular celebrations is Guavaween, held at the end of October. During the daytime the family Fun Fest features live music, food, activities, and a children's costume contest. Guavaween activities take over the 29 blocks that make up Ybor City, and the party continues at night with more live music and the adults' costume contest. Crowds are large at this popular Tampa festival, where the bars are open and the celebration continues until 3 am. It's an annual fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce and has a large following of revelers.
For anyone who missed Gasparilla and Guavaween but is still interested in showing off a period costume, don't worry; Tampa Bay festivals of this type continue throughout the year with the annual Renaissance Festival, which is celebrated at the Museum of Science and Industry.
One of the most popular Tampa Florida events is the Florida State Fair, which is held in February. Rides, exhibits, food, music, games, exhibits, shopping, and scheduled concerts provide hours of entertainment, and visitors will find plenty of entertainment, no matter how old they are. The fair runs for twelve days during February and is open day and evening hours; parking is free. Music fans will also enjoy the annual 98 RockFest, which takes place during the spring and has some of the best talent in rock music to headline.
Art festivals, both conventional and unusual, occur as well, with one of the most interesting being the Tampa Bay Tattoo Festival, Held in the spring, this Tampa festival features body art and gives these talented artists a chance to gather to display and implement their latest work. Visitors interested in art might also look forward to the Gasparilla Festival of Arts and the Buckler's Craft Show.
Tampa events focusing on health and fitness include the annual Climb Tampa event, Race for Sight, and Gasparilla Distance Classic Marathon, and for the gardeners, a lovely Tampa festival featuring the homes and gardens of Bayshore occurs. The Bloom & Garden Festival and the USF Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Festival is held in April and offers the chance to appreciate the area's native plants.
If you're taking a Tampa vacation during a holiday and are looking for things to do, consider attending one of the special holiday events. The Fourth of July is a special event in Tampa and to celebrate, fireworks displays are scheduled at specific locations such as Channelside, Raymond James Stadium, and Bayshore Boulevard. One of the most beautiful Tampa events is the annual Victorian Christmas Stroll held in December at the Henry B. Plant Museum. The stroll features rooms of the museum each decorated with a tree in the Victorian style.