Gasparilla parade: Pirates donned beads, boots, bundled layers, but few masks as they paraded down Bayshore

On an unseasonably chilly and windy day, the Gasparilla parade was back on Saturday after being canceled last year because of COVID-19.

Crowds lined Bayshore Blvd. dressed in pirate attire and laden down with beads, looking for more, as dozens of floats drove slowly by.

"I am frozen," exclaimed Lexie Fortune of Saint Petersburg.

The weather didn’t bother Ken Sikora. Not much of a surprise considering where he is from, Detroit.

"It is a little chilly with the breeze, but with the sun, it makes it a lot warmer, so it is not that bad," he told FOX 13.

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Sikora said he called his mother back home earlier this week, and she told him it was 7 degrees, with a wind chill factor of 5 degrees below zero.

Although many people piled on extra layers to keep warm, one thing they were, in general, not wearing, was a mask. Vasile Montan, from Washington, D.C., was an exception.

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"I am pretty concerned, especially with the size of the crowd like this," he said. "But I think the mask will probably help, so that’s why I’m wearing it."

His buddy from Tampa, who he is visiting, agreed. He masked up to prevent catching the virus.

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"I think an event like this has a high probability, given the number of people in close proximity," said Scott Calhoun.

Gasparilla has been a Tampa tradition for more than a century. After organizers took a different trajectory last year because of the pandemic, by the size of the crowds, and their unbridled enthusiasm, it looks like it is back on course once again.