04 August . 2017
Festival Fun for Everyone!
With our year-round tropical climate, it’s no wonder that Tampa Bay hosts a plethora of events and festivals year round. From uniquely Tampa events such as Gasparilla to foodie fests, you’re sure to find a festival that suits your fancy.
Gasparilla – Start the year with the biggest event of them all! Think of Gasparilla as Tampa’s version of Mardi Gras, complete with a parade and Krewes. Named after Jose Gaspar, who pillaged the waters of West Florida during the 18th and 19th centuries, Gasparilla takes place each January with several pirate-themed events. Check out the Children’s Parade, a family-friendly event where young mateys can jump for beads thrown from Kewe members and community groups who man elaborate floats along the mile-and-a-half route.
For the adults, The Pirate Fest is not to be missed. The day starts with the traditional Invasion, where Krewe members invade Tampa Bay aboard the pirate ship “Jose Gaspar”, a four-mile parade followed by a street festival. Gasparilla is the third largest parade in the U.S. and attracts a crowd of about 300,000 people, many who come dressed in their best pirate attire.
Mayor’s Mac and Cheese Throwdown – One of the relatively newer festivals in Tampa, the Mayor’s Mac and Cheese Throwdown takes place in April at Curtis Hixon Park along the Tampa Riverwalk. Area restaurants vie for the title of Best Mac & Cheese in the city. Music stages attract regional artists and there’s also plenty of craft beer and wine available. It’s a free event, but guests pay for their samples of mac and cheese.
Cuban Sandwich Festival – As the birthplace of the Cuban Sandwich, this festival celebrates the true taste of Tampa. The two-day celebration in May, aims to find the best Cuban Sandwich in the nation. Restaurants compete in several different categories and are judge by a panel of local VIP’s and celebrities.
The festival also offers live music and dance performances, along with food vendors, art, and cultural exhibitors.
Oktoberfest – Bring your stein and enjoy this German tradition. Held at Curtis Hixon Park, Oktoberfest features games throughout the day, such as the Liter Stein Bucket Race and the Barrell Roll. There’s always plenty of beer, brats and schnitzels, and you might even see folks dressed in lederhosen! Oktoberfest benefits Are You Safe, Inc., an area non-profit that supports victims of domestic violence.
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