Explore the rich history of Tampa’s oldest community festival, Gasparilla, during an exhibit opening Friday at Henry B. Plant Museum.
“Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition” is sure to buckle the swash of any true Gasparilla fan with historic memorabilia and footage from Tampa’s premier party and its motley krewe, the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. The exhibit will include a variety of memorabilia including coronation robes, ball invitations, programs, crowns and costumes, as well as vintage photographs of the invasions, parade floats, pirates and royal courts.
To kick off the exhibit, the museum will host “Gasparilla: Tall Tales & Scandalous Stories” Friday at 6:45 p.m. in the Music Room at Plant Hall at the University of Tampa (where Henry B. Plant Museum is located). The panel discussion will feature past krewe captains telling stories from past Gasparilla festivals.
The exhibit will include original gowns worn by former Gasparilla royalty and a 1950s princess gown designed by Anne Lowe, an African American fashion designer from Tampa, who later gained fame when she designed Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses.
There’s also film footage from the 1920s titled “Memories of Gasparilla Festivals” from the private collection of the Howell family, Joseph V. Reineman discussing the life of a pirate on Invasion Day and more.
“Gasparilla: A Tampa Tradition” runs through Feb. 23 at the museum, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $10 adults, $7 seniors, $7 for students and $5 for children age 4 to 12; (813) 254-1891 and www.plantmuseum.com.