By Jordan Walsh
With the famous pirate-themed street festival approaching, many newcomers to the Tampa Bay area are gearing up for their first Gasparilla experience. University of Tampa freshman Kyle Ewing, who hails from Daytona Beach, is among the throng of college students preparing for the event.
“It’s especially exciting for me, since I’ve lived in Florida for half of my life,” says Ewing, a Nursing major at the University, “after years of seeing Gasparilla coverage on the news, I can’t believe that I’m finally going to get to go.”
Gasparilla, which takes place on Saturday, January 26, has developed a reputation as a sort of citywide holiday that has been celebrated since 1904.
Ewing says that he’s most excited to see all the different types of people that can be encountered at the seminal event, “I’m really just going to people-watch. There’s going to be so many people there, you never know what could happen.”
Still, while the festival is, on it’s surface, a day bursting with pirate fun, it has become almost a right of passage for the students at University of Tampa. “Everybody I know is going to Gasparilla,” says Ewing, “and going for the first time makes me feel like a real Tampa citizen.”