Saturday afternoon began an over 100 year tradition in Tampa, GASPARILLA! It runs through March 7th, with the Children's Parades and Pirate Battle/Fireworks today; the Pirates come to try and take over the city on Tuesday 1/26 only to be told by the mayor they will have to go to war for the key to the city---so on Saturday 1/30 they Invade the city by boat(100's of them), and take the key to the city, and have a victory parade and festival. The following Saturday is the night parade in Ybor City, the Outbound Voyage when we send the pirates back to sea is Saturday 2/27, and then the season ends with the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in downtown Tampa 3/6 and 3/7. GOOD TIMES!!
The fireworks were watched this year with a few friends along Bayshore Blvd near El Prado Blvd, no need to deal with all the crowds further up on Bayshore, it was an amazing 30 minute firework display, and I always get to see some new ones like the smiley face fireworks that went off during the show, all while the Pirate Ship was docked in the Bay along bayshore Blvd. Afterwards, we walked over to mad Dogs and Englishmen for a nice table outside on the deck, and GREAT meals as usual at Mad Dogs--Lamb Chops, Fish and Chips, Mad Dog Salads, Cucumber Salads, and Calamari(which was more breaded this venture for some reason). All paired with some great wines. After dinner, met some friends for a birthday party at Splitsville in Channelside, then a Karaoke party.
Sunday was the grand opening of a new waterfront park in downtown Tampa, and extension of the Riverwalk. After an excellent meal at First Watch...we walked over to Curtis Hixon Park which opened to the public today, very modern, open layout, with a Great lawn for concerts and festivals. It has some very nice modern features, more of a special use park, and front lawn to the new Museum of Art and Children's Museum...there are many water features(fountains, misters), and great lighting effects in the evenings, docking for boats and kayaks along the river. I'm not too happy with what they did with Kiley park area, they removed all the trees and its just open..will be mighty hot in the summers in that area.
And....Looks like it will be the Saints and the Colts in this years Superbowl.