Gasparilla: Is It Just Like Mardi Gras?

Beryl. B. Byles

When I retired to Tampa, I was introduced to several local experiences. One of the most notable was Gasparilla, a series of several events throughout the year, but mostly the annual invasion and parade on the last Saturday of January.

Since many locals consider Gasparilla to be “just like Mardi Gras,” I realized that most people just did not know the difference.  So, I volunteered to teach an audience of fellow seniors who were curious. I was eager to share my lifelong experience and new research on the similarities and differences.   (More…)

Symbols of Mankind

Judy K. Patterson

In 1992 I was a member of the Friends of the Hillsborough Library.  My first project was to see that all the art in the libraries of Hillsborough County was repaired, reframed, and in good shape.  My second project was to get the Board to buy art for the new libraries from the Gasparilla Festival of Arts Show in Tampa in March.  The Friends had ten thousand dollars sitting in a CD for emergencies.  I finally convinced them that the money could be earned and replaced, but the new libraries needed art.  We had a few holdouts but, eventually, we all agreed to buy art each year.  It gives me great pleasure to see new art in the local libraries that I visit.

Looking around for a new project, I heard about the Ybor Library on Nebraska and its damaged mosaic on the front of the building done by Joe Testa-Secca, an artist and art teacher at University of Tampa.  (More…)

Tampa’s Bid to Host the Olympics

Tampa’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics was the first time a Florida city entered a bid for an Olympiad. The story starts with a decision by FASTA,  the Future Air & Surface Transportation Alliance to go forward with a Florida global airport project. Future global airports will have foot prints larger by a factor of 15 than the typical international airport. Tampa International, for example, is less than 7 square miles, is land locked and is  air space limited.  It is a great “20th Century airport.

Our typical international airports today provide excellent International and domestic air mobility but  are neither designed nor positioned for the future additional full-up Intrastate and urban air mobility. Since we knew a project like this would require the average transportation planner and others to think big, we decided to get Tampa into an Olympic bid, since few things are bigger than an Olympics.  (More…)