Press Releases




December 3, 2014

CONTACT: Don Barnes
Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla
(813) 251-4500

TAMPA, FL – EventFest, Inc., Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, WFLA News Channel 8 and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Tampa announced today that CSM. James C. Faris, Command Sergeant Major of United States Special Operations Command and Mario Lopez, host of NBC’s “Extra” –the Emmy® Award-winning entertainment news program have been selected as Co-Grand Marshals for the 2015 Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates, presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

Command Sergeant Major James C. Faris, United States Army currently serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the Commander of United States Special Operations Command. He’s a 30 year distinguished military veteran and special operations leader who has deployed in support of combat operations in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was awarded the Purple Heart in 1993 for injuries received during the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, and cumulatively has been awarded seven Bronze Stars, one with Valor Device, as well as earning both the Defense Superior Service Medal and Legion of Merit.

Mario Lopez continues as host of "Extra," the Emmy® Award–winning entertainment news program, for the show’s 21st season which begins September 8, 2014. This will be Lopez’s seventh consecutive season as the show’s host, after co-hosting "Extra's" weekend edition since January 2007. Perhaps most remembered as the character A.C. Slater on the 1989’s television hit Saved By The Bell, Mr. Lopez has guest starred on numerous television shows, performed on Broadway and landed on the New York Times bestseller list with his healthy-eating guide Extra Lean and its follow up Extra Lean Family. Mario also currently hosts MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, and also currently hosts iHeartRadio’s Weekly Countdown. Mario’s iHeartRadio Countdown can be heard every Sunday morning on iHeartRadio’s Mix 100.7 FM from 8 – 10 a.m. in Tampa Bay.

“Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla is delighted to partner with News Channel 8 and Seminole Hard Rock to present both Command Sergeant Major Faris and Mario Lopez as our Grand Marshals for this year’s Parade,” said J. Rex Farrior, III - Captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. “Command Sergeant Major Faris represents the very best in our distinguished military heroes who put their lives on the line every day to protect our great nation. Mr. Lopez is a wonderfully talented actor and author, and will be an exciting addition to our 100th Gasparilla Parade. He’s an easily recognizable Hollywood celebrity, who is sure to thrill the audience at this year’s festivities” added Farrior.

“It’s with great pride we announce the grand marshals for the 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Gasparilla Parade of Pirates, as we have chosen two individuals that will help draw positive attention to this iconic event in our community,” said Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino President John Fontana. “Command Sergeant Major Chris Faris is a true American hero and someone we all look up to with utmost respect for his service to our country.”

“Also in line with Seminole Hard Rock’s position as central Florida’s premier entertainment destination, Mario Lopez is part of the fabric of pop culture that will resonate with Tampa Bay so we’re extremely pleased he’ll be a part of this special event as well.”

“News Channel 8 is thrilled that Mario Lopez and CSM Faris are Grand Marshalls,” said News Channel 8 Director of Marketing Tom Hebel. Mario is no stranger to the Tampa Bay area. He is familiar with the Gasparilla tradition and can’t wait to see everyone lining Bayshore Blvd. And CSM Faris, is an American hero who has risked life and limb so we can live in the land of the free. All of us at News Channel 8 are proud to sponsor the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and broadcast the 2015 Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.”

About Gasparilla Pirate Fest: The 2015 Gasparilla Pirate Fest is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, January 30 & 31, 2015, in Tampa and will feature the 100th Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, and the Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival.

About the Gasparilla Invasion Bruch: The Gasparilla Invasion Brunch at the Tampa Convention Center provides the best view in town of the historic Gasparilla Invasion, as the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla sail up Seddon Channel aboard the Jose Gasparilla, and dock tableside at 1 p.m.

The Gasparilla Invasion Brunch, includes live entertainment, a buffet brunch with cash bar and reserved table seating for one of the most unique and colorful spectacles found anywhere in the world. Gasparilla Invasion Brunch (Adults: $85, Child: $75) and Brunch/Parade COMBO tickets (Adult COMBO $120, Child COMBO $105) are available on-line ( or by phone (813) 251-8844.

About the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates: Following another successful invasion by the pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, the focus shifts to beautiful Bayshore Boulevard, where a victory parade begins at 2 p.m. at Bay to Bay and Bayshore. The 4.5 mile Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates, which has been presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla annually since 1904, winds its way along Hillsboro Bay into downtown Tampa, with over 140 units – featuring one-hundred three (103) floats, three (3) marching bands and over fifty (50) participating social organizations (i.e. krewes).

The Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates will travel from Bayshore into downtown Tampa. The Parade will cross into downtown over the Brorein Street bridge, turn north on Ashley Drive, and end at Cass Street and Ashley Drive in the heart of the Cultural Arts District in downtown Tampa.

About the Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival: Gasparilla Pirate Fest begins on Friday January 30, 2015 with a Gasparilla Charity Concert to benefit Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla’s Gasparilla Community Fund. This fun-filled celebration will kick-off Tampa’s “piratical” festivities with a variety of live entertainment in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park – located on the east side of the Hillsborough River across from the University of Tampa between Madison and Polk. Following the Parade, entertainment will continue at Official Gasparilla Party Headquarters from Bay to Bay to Ybor City and at the ultimate Gasparilla Party Headquarters – the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino – Tampa.

An additional Latin themed entertainment stage is scheduled to be located downtown pre parade in MacDill Park, on the west side of Ashley Drive along the river between Whiting and Jackson Streets. SOL CARIBE will provide hot salsa sounds both pre and post parade in 2015 from MacDIll Park along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa.

About Gasparilla Reserved Tickets: Reserved Gasparilla bleacher seating tickets are $43, per person (tax included). For additional information or to purchase Gasparilla Invasion Brunch, Gasparilla Parade tickets and/or officially licensed Gasparilla merchandise, please log onto Tickets can also be ordered over the phone by calling EventFest’s Gasparilla Ticket Reservation Line at (813) 251-8844. A ticket representative will be available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

HOT TICKET EXPANDED IN 2015!,Our Extremely Limited First Mate reserved chair seating has been expanded in 2015 to include the FIRST MATE SOUTH - located on the water side of Bayshore Boulevard, between Ardson and Carolina, and FIRST MATE NORTH – located on the land side of the parade route on Bayshore Boulevard, between Beach and Platt Street. This single row, chair seating provides guaranteed front-row fun at Tampa`s historic Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates in 2015. First Mate Seating Tickets are $58 per person (tax included) in advance, and are expected to sell out early again this year.

Reserved Seating for the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch and Parade of the Pirates is limited and available on a first ordered, first reserved basis. All reserved tickets are assigned in the order they are received, therefore guests should order their reserved tickets early to best accommodate any seating preference they may request.

Gasparilla Pirate Fest Sponsors as of the date of this release include:

TITLE SPONSOR: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Tampa
Adams & Reese, LLC; Alley • Clark • Greiwe; Amalie Oil Company; In-Bev / Anheuser Busch, Inc; Carey O’Malley Whitaker & Mueller, P.A.; CENTRO Tampa; The City of Tampa; iHeartRadio-Tampa Bay including: WBTP-FM 95.7 The Beat, WFLZ-FM 93.3 FLZ, WFUS-FM US 103.5, WMTX-FM MIX 100.7, 620 WDAE The Sports Animal, News Radio 970 WFLA; Diageo - Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum; Hadlow Family; Hillsborough County; National Brokerage Services, Inc.; PNC Bank; Professional Insurance Center; Rex Goliath Wine, Skanska Builders, USA; Stewart Family; Sunset Salsa; The Tampa Bay Buccaneers; The Tampa Tribune;; Tech Data; Telemundo Tampa; Turner Family; Visit Tampa Bay; WFLA–TV News Channel 8 and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

Tampa’s Gasparilla events, including the McDonald’s Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Gasparilla’s Outbound Voyage are marketed, managed and produced annually by EventFest, Inc. of Tampa.






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