My father, George Lackman Jr., was involved with the krewe since the mid-‘50s; he built the pirate ship when he worked at Tampa Ship Repair and was the sailing master for 35 years. My son, George Lackman III, just joined this year.
When I’m not playing pirate, I’m a certified public accountant, a sailor and an old car guy.
My Local Knowledge
The ultimate lodging options for visitors during Gasparilla are in Hyde Park in SoHo (South Howard Boulevard) or in any of the hotels downtown — because you can walk to the parade. Your ideal hotel to watch the invasion from is the Westin Tampa Waterside on Harbour Island; get an end suite for the best view.
Out-of-towners looking to experience the local dining scene during Gasparilla may want to grab coffee at Buddy Brew, breakfast at Goody Goody or the Tampa Convention Center (where the key ceremony is), lunch at a food truck along the parade route, dinner at Bern’s Steak House and drinks at the Epicurean’s EDGE rooftop bar.
The prime spot to watch the Gasparilla parade is from the east side of Bayshore Boulevard because there are less crowds there. Bring a chair or a bench to set up a few rows back if you want to stand on it and see more. A bicycle is the easiest way to get around.