Interesting Tampa Events

Due to its location in West-Central Florida, Tampa is an ideal destination for many types of visitors, and its weather makes it particularly alluring. The Gulf of Mexico helps regulate the temperature of the city and the surrounding area, keeping it from experiencing the extreme heat that locations further inland endure during the summer. For the same reason, the area has only infrequent frost in chilly winters. With the outdoors beckoning year round, it’s no surprise that Tampa boosts a wide variety of events where tourists and locals can enjoy some sunshine and fresh here

In January, the fun kicks off with one of the most well-known Tampa traditions – Gasparilla. You may have heard of this annual parade that celebrates the city’s supposed connection with the pirate Jose Gaspar. Every year, the pirates “take over” Tampa, and even receive the key to the city from the mayor. You’ll notice Jolly Rogers flying throughout Downtown and residential areas. The event is Tampa’s counterpart to the Mardi Gras celebrations of New Orleans, with parades complete with elaborately decorated floats built for storied “Krewes” that go back generations. That said, catching beaded necklaces and seeing the pirates in all their finery aren’t the only things associated with Gasparilla. In fact, the celebration carries on from January to March and includes everything from marathons to art festivals, so you’re sure to find something to enjoy.

If you’d like a taste of the local culture, Fiesta Day in Ybor City offers a golden opportunity. A crisp February day can turn into a learning experience as the city honors the many people who settled in the area in the 1880s, including Spanish, German, Cuban, Italian, and Jewish immigrants. February also allows residents and visitors alike the chance to enjoy the festivities at the Florida State Fair. With its rides and games, the fair is an excellent place for the kids to have fun, and its agricultural showcase makes the experience educational.

Spring brings an opportunity to witness the high-flying performances at the MacDill AirFest. Every April, MacDill Air Force Base puts on one of the largest air shows hosted by the Department of Defense, and the warm weather and central location make it an excellent show to enjoy whether you’re an aircraft buff or merely a curious visitor. The excitement and adrenaline this event provides is sure to please people of all ages.

Although the summer is chock-full of fun possibilities, including dozens of Independence Day events, tourists and locals often dedicate many of their balmy weekends to visiting the area’s beautiful beaches. As Halloween approaches, however, many people flock to the Guavaween festivities in Ybor City. Instead of the traditional night parade that was oriented toward adult spectators, the new Guavaween activities focus around a music festival in different venues throughout Ybor City, as well as a costume contest.

Due to the large Hispanic population and historical Cuban influence on local culture, the month of November comes with an assortment of Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, such as the Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Committee’s Annual Latin Fest. The event takes place in Downtown Tampa and is free for all attendees. The culmination of the month’s celebratory events is the Conga Caliente festival, which is also free, and features performances from American and international acts. You can also enjoy a traditional cigar, sample ethnic dishes, or participate in a domino tournament while you’re there.