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Avast! Gasparilla will be back. Protect the environment!
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Avast! Gasparilla will be back. Protect the environment!

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Avast! After a virus-related year, the centuries-old pirate invasion in Tampa is back. Officials have a message to send: Don’t throw any plastic parade beads into Tampa Bay.

Gasparilla parade, along with other events, will return to Florida’s Gulf Coast in January to celebrate pirate lore. It’s a miniature Mardi Gras with eye patches, cannon firing and many cries.

There’s a reason why the Tampa NFL team, which is quarterbacked Tom Brady, is called the Buccaneers.

Everyone is ready to get to it,” said Peter Lackman (captain of Ye Mystic Krewe Gasparilla’s parade organizers). We’ve all waited for it.

Jane Castor, Lackman, among others, stated that Gasparilla’s return was a welcome ray of hope amid the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. They also stressed that the environment must be protected during the event.

Plastic beads are the problem. Plastic beads are thrown to crowds that number in the tens or thousands along the Tampa Bay parade route. Many end up in the oceans where they can have long-lasting negative effects on marine life.

Officials refer to it as the Bead Free Bay initiative.

Castor stated, “We have to ensure that we are taking care our beautiful bay.” You can help protect marine ecosystems when you wear beads to celebrate Gasparilla, or other events.

The Florida Aquarium’s divers recovered at least 120 lbs (54 kilograms), of beads from the bay that ran along the parade route in 2019. Since 2014, city officials have tried to limit the number of beads in the bay.

Plastics can take hundreds upon years to degrade, but eventually they become what are called microplastics. They will never disappear completely. They can become part of the food chain, eventually leading to people who eat fish and other seafood.

The Gasparilla event dates back to 1904. The idea is that Ye Mystric Krewe, a group led by pirates, launches a mock invasion on Tampa. This parade turns into a parade complete with costumes, gunboats and all things piraty.

The parade attracts as many as 300,000.

Demetri Sedita, a high school senior from the area, co-founded Green Gasparilla. We know it’s impossible for us to recover everything that is already there. We all have an impact on the health of our environment.

The main Parade of Pirates will be held on Jan. 29. There is also a children’s parade, and sometimes a third parade, in the historic Ybor City neighbourhood, once known for its cigar factories.

Castor said that beads will remain an important part in our celebrations. We only ask that revelers keep them out the bay.

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