I spend the last weekend of January each year dabbling in theater makeup. My friends and I rise at 5 a.m. to get tarted up in pirate gear and head down to the Tampa Yacht Club helping to turn upstanding members of the area’s business community into scar-riddled pirates. My standard greeting to each of 35 or so pirates goes something like, “Hello, I’m Kathleen, I’ll be disfiguring you today…”
Afterward, they get on a tall ship and pretend to take over the city before jumping aboard floats to toss beads to the crowds as the Big Parade of the Gasparilla Pirates Festival weaves seven miles through the city of Tampa. None of us makeup mavens watch the boat; instead, we go to my friend Cherie’s house for her husband’s succulent pork ribs, aka “breakfast ribs” since we invariably break into them by 11:30 a.m.
Full from ribs, we wander a few blocks over to the parade, a scene which feels an awful lot like Mardi Gras with beads and drunk people. This year, we stood under a mostly leafless tree as cover from the blowing rain and gray skies; the tree caught nearly as many beads as we did.
Afterward, we wandered to a friend’s house where I did my Annual Arranging of the Deli Tray ceremonial duties while sipping bourbon and sprite. My goal next year is to somehow get on one of the floats in the parade. Anyone seeking some extra krewe?