Did you hear that cannon fire shaking downtown today?
Fear not – the city is not being invaded. Not yet, anyway.
Just before lunchtime, the captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and his partners met with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to discuss the advantages of surrendering the city in advance of Saturday's annual Gasparilla "invasion."
As has happened for decades, the mayor told them to take their best shot.
"Not giving up the key to the pirates," Buckhorn tweeted. "Gonna fight to save the city."
With that, the scene is set for another Gasparilla celebration. The pirates will "invade" Tampa on Saturday, kicking off a daylong event.
The pirate ship Jose Gaspar will sail into Hillsborough Bay about 11 a.m. Saturday, docking tableside at the Tampa Convention Center's Invasion Brunch at 1 p.m.
Of course, Tampa will offer little resistance, and Buckhorn will eventually surrender the key to the city at 1:15 p.m.
The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates will begin at 2 p.m. at Bay to Bay and Bayshore boulevards. The 3.8-mile route will head up Bayshore and into downtown, ending on Ashley Drive at Cass Street.
There will be live entertainment, food and other activities along Ashley from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla has presented the pirate invasion and parade since 1904.