Tampa has been my hometown for 20 years. I was born in Tampa, Florida which is located about two hours south of Gainesville off of I-75. Tampa is the home of the Bucs and the Devil Rays, two of my favorite professional sports teams. My house in Tampa is not far from Tampa Bay and is only about 20 minutes from the beach.
My claim to fame has a couple of origins, which both come from my last name, Gibbons. In Tampa friends of my father's side of the family have approached me and instantly recognized the strong Gibbons resemblence that I inherited from my father. Just by looking at me, people have said ..."you're a Gibbons!" I kindly reply "yes I am" with a smile on my face. My second claim to fame comes from a relative of mine who has accomplished many great things in his life. The majority of my father's family, the Gibbons', are from Tampa and many of them still live in Tampa today. My great uncle, Congressman Sam M. Gibbons, also from Tampa, is a well-known man in both Tampa and Washington D.C. He was active incumbent in the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years before he retired in 1996. Congressman Gibbons, a Democrat of course, was Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee just before the Republicans took over the House majority in Congress. Congressman Gibbons was replaced by Jim Davis in the Tampa district. I feel honored because I have "two" Uncle Sam's. Congressman Sam M. Gibbons is a great man who has done many wonderful things for the U.S and Tampa too. The picture below was taken during my first trip to Washington D.C.
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A fun and exciting Tampa event is held every year and the festivities take place in the heart of south Tampa. Gasparilla, an annual historic city-wide Tampa celebration, similar to a parade at Mardi Gras, was founded in 1904. This traditional celebration is generally composed of two parades that take place in February. My friends and I look forward to the Gasparilla day and night parades each year. The day parade takes place on Bayshore Boulevard, a 4.5 mile continuous sidewalk that extends along Tampa Bay, and the night parade takes place in downtown Tampa along 7th Avenue in historic Ybor City. The day parade typically hosts about 400,000 guests annually. This year Gasparilla will be held during the last weekend in January in accordance with the XXXV Super Bowl, taking place in Tampa. This year both parades and the Super Bowl combined will be held on Super Bowl weekend. The Gasparilla Pirate Fest is the closest that I have come to a Mardi Gras parade. I would not miss Gasparilla for the world...and thats a strong committment. The parade is a fun-filled day comprised of drinking, catching beads from pirates and is an event that the entire community can enjoy. Gasparilla holds a strong tradition, especially in south Tampa. I would love to visit New Orleans and attend Mardi Gras. I am sure that Mardi would not compare to Gasparilla in my book.
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These are a few pirates from last year's Invasion and day parade. At Gasparilla people of all ages can be seen joining in on the festivities. The pirates are members of an organization in the city and pay a wealthy amount of money each year to participate in the parades.
This photograph shows the pirate ship with the pirates who "Invade" Tampa aboard. The Invasion takes place before the parade, and many people ride along side the pirate ship in their own boats in Tampa Bay on Gasparilla.Gasparilla is one big party, for anyone who has not been I suggest you go, especially in 2001 during Super Bowl weekend.
I am not sure if I will live in Tampa when I graduate. I am keeping my options open for where I plan to look for a career. Tampa is a great city to live in in Florida but I am not sure if I am going to live there when I am older. Even if I don't live in Tampa, I plan to visit every Gasparilla. I want my children to have the opportunity to go to these parades just like I did when I was young.
Most recent update: October 24, 2000
For more information, contact Kristie Gibbons