Time stands still as beads fly through the air with the majesty of an American bald eagle soaring down from the immaculate peaks of the snowcapped Rockies and off into the horizon over a lush green forest terrain. Each colorful string falls into the overzealous hands of the inebriated who celebrate the newly acquired memento with the same genuine wonderment and exhilaration of a child opening “the big gift” Christmas morning. He adds that molded necklace to his already impressive collection to display his dominance over the rest of the male species and advertise to women that he’s a provider with hopes of parlaying small plastic pearls into flashes of large plastic breasts.
You’re probably envisioning New Orleans, voodoo crazed Cajuns, and frightening papier-mâché jester head floats cruising down a maddening, jam-packed Bourbon Street. Understandable. Mardi Gras has had a stranglehold on the self-indulgent, parade party scene for decades. Yet, there’s another enjoyable, equally reprehensible festival in Tampa that’s seemingly unknown to anyone outside of Florida. Those of you in the Sunshine State already know what I’m talking about, and are undoubtedly preparing for the upcoming weekend. For everyone else, let me introduce you to the alcohol-fueled, pirate-themed, college hookup celebration that is Gasparilla.
A parade in Tampa? I know, it’s a hard sell. As a whole, Tampa is a toxic landfill that’s only redeeming quality is a few full nude strip clubs with girls that don’t look riddled with hepatitis for a change — making these establishments “high end.” For 364 days a year, the city remains an overflowing bag of sewage full of north-eastern retirees and homeless vagabonds. But on one magical day in January, we forget how truly terrible the town is and treat the place as if we’re a perverted casting porn director and it’s the naive 18-year-old coed who thinks a new handbag outweighs the entire world having access to her going ass to mouth with one click of the mouse.
Students from FSU, UF, UCF, USF, Miami, FAU, FIU, and every other Florida school that consistently dominates TFMgirls, gather bayside with enough booze to kill a mid-sized Irish fishing village. Coolers are filled to the brim with brews, camelbacks become a vessel for hands-free margaritas, and gallon jugs of grain alcohol hunch punch are passed around like third-world baby orphans into the hands of a philanthropic celebrity couples.
As you drink yourself into an inevitable state of auto-pilot, floats on the street and boats on the water drive by with washed-up former pro athletes and old ectomorphic Tampa Bay businessmen attempting to launch beads into the crowd — failing a majority of the time. That’s what makes the thrill of actually hauling in the goods that much more electric.
Sorry, kid. I don’t care if you’re seven years old and three feet tall. You just got “Moss’d.” Go cry to your parents and tell them they’re irresponsible peasants for not paying to go on the family side. This side right here is the Thunderdome, bitch.
After getting more tit swag than a Natural Geographic tribal shoot and leaving some little punk in tears, you’re ready to holler at some busty pirate wench minxes. Where guys typically go with the bare minimum effort, throwing on an eye patch or bandana, girls go all out. Corset fetish galore.
If your thing is plowing slutty, fit buccaneers in a porta potty — and whose isn’t — this is the place for you. The comically larger the beads you give them are, the further they’ll go with you. Normal string? Quick boob flash. Rapper sized chain beads? All holes are open for business. Size matters.
No open container laws on the actual route and the parade being an all day marathon means Bayshore Blvd. looks like the a post-apocalyptic virus outbreak film by late afternoon. Bodies of shameless sexual deviants rolling around and seizing on top of each other and passed out jamokes who can’t hang litter the streets and public lawns. It’s a beautifully disastrous sight.
Now to some of you (pussies), this may sound like more Florida trash. For whatever reason, you just can’t see the appeal of one of the simplest pleasures in life: getting black out drunk in a captain’s hat and publicly finger banging some honey in fishnet stockings. And for that, I pity you.
Between the day drinking, aggressive costumes, and sheer amount of incredibly sexy tail in a condensed area, Gasparilla is quintessential college..
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