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Gasparilla parade runs a mile longer this year

The parade route for Gasparilla 2003 will start at Bay-to-Bay and end at Morgan Street.

By BABITA PERSAUD, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 7, 2003

TAMPA -- This year, the pirates will have a longer walk.

The parade route for Gasparilla 2003, slated for Feb. 1, will stretch nearly a mile farther than in the past, Fred Dobbins, captain of Ye Mystic Krewe, said Monday.

The march will start at Bay-to-Bay and end at Morgan Street.

Also different this year: the location of Pirate Fest, the carnival-like festival that accompanies Gasparilla.

Because of construction on Ashley Street for the Cultural Arts District, Pirate Fest will move to the area bordered by Whiting, Tampa and Brorein streets and Florida Avenue.

Pirate Fest will run from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Feb. 1 and feature live music. (A lineup will be announced Friday.)

The rest of the schedule is:

-- 1 p.m. -- Jose Gasparilla, filled with Ye Mystic Krewe, docks at the Tampa Convention Center and pretends to take the keys of the city from the mayor.

Like last year, only Seddon Channel will be open to the flotilla. All other channels will be closed by the Coast Guard as a security precaution.

-- 1:45 p.m. -- Parade starts, featuring 120 units, including 92 floats and 14 high school bands.

As usual, no bottles or glass will be allowed along the parade route.

HARTline will offer shuttle service from the Florida State Fairgrounds. Round trip is $5.

Also announced Monday: The Children's Gasparilla Parade will be Jan. 25, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Euclid Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard.

The parade ends about 7 p.m. with a 28-minute fireworks show.

Dobbins reiterated that beginning next year only Ye Mystic Krewe will be allowed to march as pirates. Other krewes will have to have their outfits approved by Ye Mystic Krewe, he said.

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