The Pirates were back Saturday morning.
The Gasparilla Invasion/Parade took over Tampa Bay for another year as thousands lined Bayshore Blvd. for the annual festivities.
The nearly 300,000 revelers who took part could not have asked for a nicer day. As is the case every year Tampa Bay was going batty over beads for Gasparilla 2013.
"I think it gets better and better every year," said Bay area resident Pam Carpentier.
Party people packed the route as far as the eye could see. Thousands and thousands came out early Saturday clamoring for that perfect spot to watch floats sail by.
Millions and millions of beads were tossed about for men, women and children to gather up. Diante Thomas collected a fair share and he had fun doing it.
"It's really fun this year," he explained. "It's fun to catch the beads and have fun as a family."
With so many plundering pirates and wicked wenches on hand Tampa Police had their hands full making sure everything went smoothly.
Authorities also had some extra ‘eyes' assisting, employing a handful of mobile cameras to ensure everyone had good, safe fun.
Diane Dixon has attended 49 of the last 50 Gasparilla parades and considers herself a ‘Pirate professional.'
"I think [it creates] a good image for the city," she said. "We just had a blast [today] enjoying our beautiful city."
Dixon had some advice for those looking to collect as many beads as possible.
"Just wave and say hey," she added.
The Gasparilla event is Tampa's biggest party of the year and the 3rd largest parade in the country. When you attend Gasparilla you had better be prepared to have a good time or you might have to ‘walk the plank.'
Tampa Police issued 94 alcohol citations on Saturday and a total of 22 adults were arrested on a variety of charges. Approximately 30 juveniles were taken into custody for underage drinking.
And don't forget, the Gasparilla Knight Parade will take place on Saturday, February 9th.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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