The Seminole Hard Rock Tampa is returning as the title sponsor for the Gasparilla pirate festival, the city’s premiere annual event.
The hotel and casino and EventFest Inc. announced an agreement Tuesday for the Hard Rock to sponsor the celebration through 2016. The newly named 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest, including the historic pirate invasion, parade and street festival presented by Ye Mystic Krewe, is scheduled for Jan. 25.
“The Gasparilla Pirate Fest is a very important celebration for the Tampa Bay community and provides a big boost to the economy each year,” Seminole Hard Rock Tampa President John Fontana said in a statement. “With that said, we want to see it grow even more successful.”
The Hard Rock had been the title sponsor for the event from 2009 to 2012, but did not renew in 2013, leaving the main Gasparilla festivities without a title sponsor for the first time in nearly two decades.
The more than 100-year-old festival draws hundreds of thousands of people to Tampa’s waterfront each year.
To celebrate the announcement, the Hard Rock is hosting a Gasparilla Treasures Mixer for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Thursday. The free event, taking place in the casino’s Hard Rock Cafe from 4 to 7 p.m., will feature drink specials and costumed pirates from Ye Mystic Krewe posing for photos with the public.