Pirates donned beads, boots, bundled diapers, but few masks as they paraded on Bayshore

On an unusually cold and windy day, the Gasparilla parade was back on Saturday after being canceled last year due to COVID-19.

Crowds lined Bayshore Blvd. dressed in pirate attire and laden with pearls, searching for more, as dozens of tanks slowly passed by.

“I’m frozen,” exclaimed Lexie Fortune from St. Petersburg.

The weather didn’t bother Ken Sikora. Not really a surprise considering where he comes from, Detroit.

“It’s a bit chilly with the breeze, but with the sun it’s a lot warmer, so it’s not that bad,” he told FOX 13.

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Sikora said he called her mother home earlier this week, and she told her it was 7 degrees, with a wind chill factor of 5 degrees below zero.

Although many people piled on extra layers to keep warm, one thing they usually didn’t wear was a mask. Vasile Montan, from Washington, DC, was an exception.

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“I’m quite worried, especially with the size of the crowd like this,” he said. “But I think the mask will probably help, which is why I’m wearing it.”

His friend from Tampa, whom he is visiting, agreed. He masked himself to avoid catching the virus.

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“I think an event like this has a high probability, given the number of people nearby,” Scott Calhoun said.

Gasparilla has been a Tampa tradition for over a century. After the organizers took a different course last year because of the pandemic, by the size of the crowds, and their unbridled enthusiasm, it seems to be on the right track again.

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