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Gasparilla bigger, better, more super

This year's festival features top acts and shares a weekend of local excitement with the Super Bowl.


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 5, 2001

TAMPA -- K.D. Lang, Richard Marx and Baha Men, the group that gave the world Who Let the Dogs Out?, are among the acts topping Gasparilla this year.

The more-stellar-than-normal lineup is among some of the differences to Gasparilla 2001, what organizers Ye Mystic Krewe and EventMakers are calling a "Super" Gasparilla celebration.

Typically taking place in February, Gasparilla was moved to the last weekend in January to coincide with Super Bowl XXXV. The usual Gasparilla traditions remain.

The invasion will take place at 1 p.m. Jan. 27, with the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla docking at the Tampa Convention Center. The parade, with 110 floats this year, will start at 2 p.m.

MacDill Air Force Base is participating for the first time and will provide a mini-air show during the parade. Making appearances in the Gasparilla Air Salute will be A-10s, F-16s, B-52s, C-17s and the Air Force Thunderbirds.

The parade route has been changed this year. Usually ending on Kennedy Boulevard next to the University of Tampa, the finish line will now be at Jackson and Marion streets. This is to clear Kennedy for traffic to the Taste of the NFL, which is also occurring that night, said Jim Tarbet, executive director of Ye Mystic Krewe. He said Ye Mystic is working with the city and police to make sure Gasparilla, one of many events during the weekend, goes smoothly.

But the logistics of Gasparilla are "always a challenge," he said.

Shuttles from the Florida State Fairgrounds will run again this year.

The Pirate Fest will take over downtown Tampa on Friday, Jan. 26, and feature a concert at Curtis Hixon Park with Spy vs. Spy, a reggae band, and Public Announcement.

The festival runs Saturday, Jan. 27, and Sunday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. There will be rides, food, and live entertainment on two stages. K.D. Lang, Richard Marx and Baha Men play Saturday. Also performing: the R&B group, KC & Jo Jo, and Shaggy, a rapper whose song It Wasn't Me is in the Top 10.

On game day, Super Bowl XXXV will be shown live on giant screens set up at Curtis Hixon Park.

Having the Super Bowl offers Gasparilla a unique marketing opportunity. This year, Gasparilla has its own cigar, rolled in Nicaragua and Honduras and distributed by a local company. Also, local musician John Seda has written two songs for Gasparilla, Pirate for a Day and Blow the Man Down.

In another first, Gasparilla will be broadcast live on the Internet by Multi Video Channel One, so those who stay at home can watch online: www.MVC1.com.

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