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Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Local parents share PRO TIPS

We want to help you and the kids easily navigate the Gasparilla Children’s Parade which is on Saturday, January 22, 2022, so we’re sharing our top tips along with tips from parents like you!

First–did you know the Gasparilla Children’s Parade is so much more than just a parade??? It’s an all day experience jam-packed with family-friendly fun!

You can arrive as early as 11:00 am when vendors open and the first special event kicks off–the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Rodeo at Bayshore Blvd and Rome Ave which is an absolute must attend! Your child can navigate the bike course (Tampa Police will provide bikes if your child does not ride one to the parade route), learn safety tips and even get fitted for a FREE helmet while supplies last. Bikes will be provided to ride if you don’t bring your own.

The Preschooler’s Stroll follows at 1:00 pm at Bayshore Blvd and Howard, ending at Rome Ave. This is the cutest parade you’ll ever see featuring pint-sized pirates and their families!

Another returning favorite is the air show experience with an Air Invasion performance by aerobatic pilots flying vintage military planes and USSOCOM parachute jumps!

The main parade steps off at 3:30 pm at Bayshore and Bay to Bay Blvd and ends at Edison Ave. Be sure to stick around for the fireworks show, Piratechnics!

One of our favorite ways to view the parade, especially when you have little ones or plan to arrive just before the main parade steps off…are the reserved seats like the First Mate seats and bleacher seats. (Also a great option if you want to avoid big crowds while viewing the parade.)

BUY YOUR RESERVED SEATS NOW

The First Mate seats are on the waterside of Bayshore Blvd–it’s one row of folding chairs with plenty of room to park a stroller, wagon or bikes. This is pretty much the best way to guarantee front row views and is great for families with little ones.

The Bleacher Seats are available on the water side and land side. It’s also a reserved spot with great views and access to catch plenty of beads.

If you really want to elevate your day, consider the Scully VIP tent which includes a picnic buffet, snacks and a reserved bleacher seat.

Related: Click here to find details about parking and transportation

We also recommend having your child bring a small backpack to store their water bottle, snacks, hand sanitizer and face masks. Keep in mind there are only porta-potties along the parade route, so hand sanitizer and wipes are a MUST. Face masks come in handy when it gets crowded or even for a visit to the potty! The backpack will double as a great place to store all of the BEADS!

Here are some more great Gasparilla Children’s Parade day tips from parents like you:

  • “Bring a bag to hold all of your loot!”. –Shannon T.
  • “Get there early.” –Daisy Q.
  • “Sunscreen.” Susan M.
  • “Wear sneakers. Lots of walking. ” -Jennifer S.
  • “Chairs, water and hat.” –Debra C.
  • “Each of my kids wears a sinch sack backpack for their stuff.” –Christina P.
  • “Bring something to keep the kids entertained while you wait for the festivities to start. A deck of cards or a small notebook and pen can help you keep your sanity.” –Teena G.
  • “Snacks!” –Courtney D.
  • “Have a positive attitude.” –Katie B.
  • “I’m bringing a blanket to snuggle.” – Krystal B.
  • “Bring snacks, water and sunscreen…and use the potty before you get to your spot.” –Nahal S.
  • “Show up early and have fun!” –Latisha D.
  • “Plan your parking spot in advance or take public transportation.” –Barbara M.
  • “Have patience and be kind.” –Meghan Y.
  • “Add something to your child’s outfit so you can easily see them in the crowd! And bring hand sanitizer.” –Lindsay C.
  • “I love to stand near the beginning of the parade to beat the crowds of people trying to leave! SHHH if my secret gets out then it won’t work anymore!” –Brittany G.
  • “Bring tissues in case the port o potties run out of toilet paper.” –Becky S.
  • “Check road closures. Bring snacks and water. Enjoy yourselves and make lots memories with your kids.” –Brianna J.
  • “Dress like a pirate!” –a lot of you!
  • “Bring LOTS of blankets and snacks! Dress in many layers, including an AWESOME pirate costume as the top layer!! AAARRGH!!!” –Angela B.
  • “Uber unless you get there very early to park, dress appropriately for the weather, bring lots of food, drinks and def. scope where the port-a-potties are before hand!” Michelle S.
  • “Taking an Uber or Lyft? Easy drop off point is the Publix on the corner of Platt and Bayshore.” –Chris K.
  • “Write your phone number on kids’ arms with washable marker in case they get separated.” –Dell E.
  • “Be kind and remember it’s about the kids and have fun of course.” –Michelle P
  • “Sunglasses protect the eyes from more than just the sun. They are a must to keep your little ones peepers safe from flying beads! ? A kiddo size plastic yard rake too if your close enough to the street for scooping up beads that fall short of the crowd and land in the street! Sheesh, you’d think I’d never been to one of these before. Only since about 1976.” –Michele D.

Learn more pro tips from local blogger, krewe member and mom, Carlee Bowdoin in her article on Gasparilla Children’s Parade tips that was featured in our January 2018 issue: Your Map to Parade Day Treasures.

Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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