Calling all pirates, privateers, and swashbucklers to the Henry B. Plant Museum! On January 18th, Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition
sails into the Museum. Dive deep into the history of Tampa’s oldest and most fun-loving community festival. This exhibit explores the uncharted waters of more than 110 years of parades, pirate invasions, coronation balls, and more. Gaze at vintage photographs from 1904 to the present, see memorabilia including invitations and pirate tokens, and marvel at gowns worn by Gasparilla queens and members of their courts. Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition
will run from January 18th to February 24th, 2019 and is underwritten by Hank, Suzanne, Sara Katherine and Margo Ennis.
The Museum is proud to feature three Gasparilla gowns designed by African American fashion designer, Ann Lowe. Lowe began her career in Tampa in the 1920s and her fashions are highly regarded today. She is best known for creating the bridal gown and bridesmaids gowns for Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in 1953. Each of the Gasparilla gowns is rare and unique featuring elaborate beaded designs. They were worn to Gasparilla Balls and Coronations in 1924, 1926, and 1957.
Visitors can also enjoy film coverage on the celebration. "Memories of Gasparilla Festivals" includes scenes from the 1920s and reveals pirate capers and images of early parades. This film is from the private collection of the Howell family. It is narrated by John Boushall, III; H.L. Culbreath, Jr.; L.G. "Ted" Delavergne, Jr.; Jerry E. Fogarty; George B. Howell, III; Fred R. Martin, III; Mary Alsbrook Smith and Frances Thomas Toole. Film footage from Joseph V. Reineman describing the life of a pirate on Invasion Day will also be shown continuously.
Over the years, the original Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla has been joined by dozens of new krewes (social clubs), all of which contribute to the general merriment and community pride of the occasion.