The pirates have called off their invasion.

Gasparilla 2021 is officially canceled, as COVID-19 continues to spread across Tampa Bay.

What You Need To Know

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla made the announcement in a statement on its website:

“Since 1904, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG) has invaded the shores of Tampa Bay and captured the key to the city. Only a handful of times did our daring pirate invaders decide to spare the city from invasion due to unprecedented world events. This year, our pirates are making a similar decision to remain offshore and table their invasion plans until the seas calm. Out of an abundance of caution, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG) and EventFest has announced the cancellation of Tampa's signature Gasparilla Parades planned for April 10 and April 17. The decision resulted from an ongoing dialogue between event organizers, city leaders, and healthcare experts.”

The next Children’s Gasparilla presented by Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay is now scheduled for Saturday, January 22, 2022.

The Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest is now scheduled for Saturday, February 26, 2022.

"This is a very difficult decision to make. Gasparilla is a signature event for the city of Tampa, for the coast of Florida and for the hundreds of thousands of people that attend this event every year ... from a children's parade to a full blown day parade to the fireworks to the outbound voyage and all the other collateral events that occur with this,"  said Peter Lackman with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

"The restrictions get tighter and tighter for us to be safe, and at some point the party's not fun if there's only two people at it," he continued. "And so our party at Gasparilla is not a two person party. This is a community event. This is an open event."

Lackman says, with the event canceled, he's concerned about the businesses that will lose out.

"Making this decision doesn't affect us as mush as it affects all the vendors in Tampa and the tens of millions of dollars that come in from the parade for hotels, for restaurants, for transportation, for special events that surround it. So, we don't stand alone in making this decision."

Tiger Lee shares those concerns. He owns a pirate costume business that relies on Gasparilla for 40% of its annual revenue.

“It’s like swimming in the ocean with a hook and a peg leg. And then, now with this new announcement, it’s like adding an anchor on.” he said. “People think I make bank during Gasparilla, but it really just pays for me to do all the slow months from February to September."

The event has been a Tampa tradition since 1904. In has been canceled a total of 11 times over the years, according to our news partner, the Tampa Bay Times – during both world wars and during temporary lulls in public interest.

The Times reported in 2008 that the Children's Parade was canceled due to bad weather.