Ye Mystic Krewe preps for Gasparilla in style

Before the pirates arrived by sea to invade the city of Tampa, they put on their "game faces" at the Tampa Yacht & Country Club. Members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG) gathered early Saturday morning to piece together their costumes and have their hair and pirate make-up done by professionals.

"We're getting made up, getting ugly," said Krewe member David Townsend. "For your family seeing you after you're done it, it's always fun."

It takes several hours for hundreds of Krewe members to go through the process of having faux scars painted on their faces.

Spending the morning getting ready together while enjoying music, drinks and breakfast at the Yacht Club is a long-running tradition.

Ye Mystic Krewe has celebrated the legend of pirate Jose Gaspar since 1904, and the Krewe is credited with founding the annual Gasparilla Parade down Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa.

"I've been doing this myself for 34 years, and it's my fourth costume," said Doug Tuttle, describing his eclectic pirate garb. "You just kind of put a mixed bag of stuff together to make it look piratical, and have a good time."
Once the Krewe was ready, each member boarded the Gasparilla ship or separate boats making up the flotilla.

The YMKG pirate ship sailed through the Hillsborough Bay and docked at the Tampa Convention Center around 11:30 a.m. to kick off the invasion of the city and parade through the streets.

An estimated 200,000 people lined the parade route, but others chose to watch the festivities play out aboard private boats with friends and family. An estimated 1,000 vessels were a part of the flotilla this year.
The Gasparilla parade ran from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.