The Legend of Jose Gaspar
It all started in 1904, when the mystical legend of Jose Gaspar came to life. Gaspar and his scar-faced, eye patch-wearing band of pirates soon became known to Tampa residents as Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. Decked out in the garb of high seas pirates, they storm Bayshore Boulevard and downtown Tampa, demanding that the Mayor surrender the city.
Each year in January the siege is repeated. The pirate ship Jose Gaspar sails into the harbor near downtown Tampa with a flotilla of hundreds of boats. The pirates blast away with pistols and cannons as they prepare to start the invasion. The captain and his Krewe capture the city (with little resistance) and share their wealth of trinkets, doubloons, and necklaces with the enthusiastic crowd along the parade route.
The Krewe of Venus follows close behind with its Royal Court float, Loyal Subjects float, Debutante float, and Kings Guard float. Two weeks after the Gasparilla invasion, the party continues with the Knights of Sant‘ Yago Ybor City Knight Parade.
Shelley (Horn) Jackson became the youngest queen of Krewe Venus in the 95-96 season earning her a place in the rich history and culture of Tampa Bay and the Gasparilla Pirate Fest.