Pirate News

Pirate Themed Entrepreneurs Organization Nerve Convention


About 18 years ago I got pulled into Piracy when my friend Ted Shred of Pirates for Hire asked me to dress n' shoot pirates fer a pirate themed business convention.  This October we returned to our roots n' helped decorate n' provided a pop-up store in the JW Marriott in Tampa Bay fer the EO Nerve Convention 2023.  The Entrepreneur' Organization evolved from the Association of College Entreprenuers group, which I started the Arizone State University branch a very long time ago.  For this event we provided pirate ships, cannons, a treasure chest, n' a few other fun props n' garb fer sale to get everyone in the pirating mood.  I also gave an hour talk about pirate weapons, how to talk like a pirate n' the economics of piracy.  The event ended in a big bash, attended by conference goers, our very own Pirate Fashions Krewe, n' the Notorious Krewe of the Peg Leg Pirates.

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Pirate Fashions Customers

Show Pirate Fashionsyar Pirate Loot n' Swag! We love to see Arrr wares on ye rogues n' vagrants when ye go ashore! Email us photos inyar pirate garb n' just let us know where ye were adventurin' n' what ye be wearin'.

Ye may also be featured in Arrr Newsletters to the Pirate Fashions Brotherhood across the seas! We've had pirates carry Arrr Swag from the Ybor City Pub Crawl to Live Theater Shows for Treasure Island or Pirate Festivals! 

Keep a weathered eyefer Arrr piratical exploits as well! We've had Arrr products n' designs appear on the Starz Show- Black Sails, AMC's Turn, Salem n' Blackbeard's Outfitfer Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. Additionally,arrr products have appeared in museums n' pirate venuesfer entertainment!   

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Pirates in the Gulf and Tampa Bay

Piracy has had a profound impact on the culture of Tampa Bay. We have adopted them asarrr sports team mascot, we created the Legendary Jose Gaspar- around which the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival has arisen. Tampa also be home to Pirate Fashions- Home to the World's Largest Selection of Pirate Plunder n' Riches!

We want to elaborate on how n' why pirates have left such a strong impression on the Bay Area. In the early 19th Century there was a very influential pirate captain (later a privateer) named Jean Lafitte that operated in the Gulf of Mexico. Lafitte and his family mostly operated out of Louisiana Allegedly he had a subordinate Pirate Captain that operated out of the islands near Tampa Bay named Henry Ross. Lafitte n' his pirates ran a very successful smuggling ring in the Gulf o' Mexico. And if the stories are accurate he may have held sway in the Bay Area.

Jean Lafitte became a privateer during the War of 1812 when he helped Andrew Jackson fend off the British in the Battle of New Orleans, it is believed to be the final Battle of the War.

In Tampa's first public graveyard, visitors can also find thegrave stones of two men identified as Mid-19th Century Cuban Pirates. Jose "El Indio"Perfino and Captain Hubbard. Though their originsbe shrouded in mystery, the Tampa Locals are believed to have hung El Indio. It is unknown how Hubbard met his end.

Jose Gaspar is widely accepted as a Mythical figure, but we have been celebrating his legend annually with Gasparilla since 1904. It is believed that he is basedoff of a Portuguese Seaman n Teller of Tall Tales named John Gomez- who operated along the Gulf Coast in the late 19th Century. Myth suggests that Gomez was part of Gaspar's pirate crew.
Today of course, we celebrate Gasparilla witharrr own Legendary Pirate Invasion, as of 2015 it is the third largest parade in the United States. Strikeyar colors, drink some rum and revel in the Piratical Culture o' Tampa Bay! Learn more: http://bit.ly/2jzHFYG

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The Mardi Gras Pirate Sets Sail!

Take Mardi Gras by storm me hearties! There be a lot of overlap between pirates and the festive outfits, revelries n' debauching of Mardi Gras- therefore Pirate Fashions has designed the Mardi Gras Pirate Costume!

To match the colors n' explosiveness that has been in Mardi Gras style since 1872 we have assembled a selection of Green, Gold n' Purple fabrics. These not beyar cheap run o' the mill Halloween costumes, these are the outfits of Legendary Adventurers and are durable enough to survive numerous, active nights in the French Quarter.  

Mardi Gras' origins date back to as far as MedievalFrance, when the people would celebrate "Beouf Gras," or Fatted Calf. Awell fed cow would belead in a parade, to a feast for the community. This would be to celebrate the beginning of Lent. This tradition persisted into Colonial America n' became "Fat Tuesday," or the literal French translation: Mardi Gras. 

The tradition of parading cattle disappeared over time. In NewOrleans it was replaced by an elegant Mardi Gras Ball in the early 18th century. A Carnival style Mardi Gras Parade happened in the late 18th century under Colonial Spain. Both the Ball and the Carnival are hallowed traditions o' Mardi Gras. The first Official Mardi Gras finally took place in 1837 with a grand parade o' horses, carriages n' lights. In 1875, Governor Warmoth even signed the "Mardi Gras Act" to make it an officialLouisnana Holiday, which it be to this day. O'ertime Mardi Gras has continuously grown into a festive parade n' night o' revelry! 

The traditional green, purple n' gold were adopted during a visit from Russian Grand Duke n' businessman Alexis Romanoff in 1872. To honor the noble's House, his House's colors were adopted into Mardi Gras as the official colors by the Rex, King of Mardi Gras. 

The best thing about Pirate Fashions is that many o'arrr items come in a variety of colors. Arrange the Tri-Colors toyarrr liking n' get ready for a night on the town!


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Clean Yar Garb! Pirate Costume Washing Tips

It's been one week since the Gasparilla Pirate Festival n' it's time to cleanyar garb! To help ye get the salt and grime out ofyar outfit Pirate Fashions has put together a Category System to helpye pick the right methods. It's best to follow the instructions on the tag, but if there be no tag here bearrr guidelines!

Category One be Dry Clean Only: Articles that fall into this chest be comprised of Corsets, Bodices, as well as Most Coats n' Items made with silk, wool, or velvet. Bring'em to a professional dry cleaner or use an at Home Cleaning Product in a Tumble Dryer.

Category Two be Hand Wash n' Light Dry: Womens Tops n Skirts, some of the Men's Skirts, Silk Bandana n Sash, Waist Coats, n' most clothes with 2 different fabrics or lining. Handwash inyar wash basin or bath tub with a mild detergent. Gently swirl n' knead the fabricsfer 2 minutes. Foryarsilks a hair conditionerbe a fine way to soften the delicate cloth. Let dry on a rack n' they'll be ready for adventure in no time.

Category Three be the Machine Wash n Cold Water n' Line Dry Category: Bloomers, Some o' the Men's Shirts, Men's Pants, Kilts, Some Women's Skirts n' Linen Sashes. It is vital ye handle this properly to avoid shrinkage. Thesebe Machine Wash COLD WATER ONLY n' LINE DRY ONLY items of clothing.Alternatively ye could purchaseyar clothing in a Large and use Category Fourfer yar drying.

Category Four be Machine Wash n' Dry: Items in this category be Linens n' Cotton Bandanas, Socks, T-Shirts n' Pre Shrunk Fabrics. Just machine wash cold and dryfer a tough, veteran look! If ye be looking for the respectable pirate look just iron or steam after drying.

If ye have questions about maintaining and cleaningyar garb- consult the Pirate Fashions website! http://bit.ly/2ks3M71

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Krew's River Adventure

Every other month the Krewe of Pirate Fashions goes out on a field trip to do something fun or else they might mutiny. Tiger figured that it was time fer arrrr once a year bath, arrrrgh! We had a fun filled day on the crystal clear waters of Weeki Wachee Springs.  We rented some canoes, bought along arrrr paddle boards and mermaid tails. We saw some manatees and even got to touch some of them.


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Brixham Pirate Festival, UK

I be Tiger Lee, here be a tale of my visit to the old world. I boarded the Brixham Pirate Festival in its 5th year. Not sure what to expect, I arrived at the old seaport village, with about 40,000 visitors. Maybe 10% dressed in that they call “fancy” outfits, what we call cheap Halloween costumes. About 60 pirates were dressed in authentic pirate kits. Most of them re-enactors be very knowledgeable about pirate history and what they be wearing. There be a surprising number of them that actually be carrying n using black powder firearms, as you must have a hard to come by firearm’s license. Black powder is classified as an explosive, so special requirements are required fer storage. They also have firearms converted to fire regular 9mm pistol blanks to avoid the black.

They had two stages of entertainment, one fer kids n another one for adults. They had a mixture of regular musicians playing some pirate like music, plus a number of dedicated pirate bands, some were quite good, just like in the New World. They only had one vendor sell some leather items. My guess be that the hundreds of shop keepers around the harbor didn’t want competing vendors around.

At 5:30pm they had a skirmish at the Golden Hind, a replica of the ship that Sir Frances Drake used to circumnavigate around the world. There are two of the ships, one in London, which be the more authentic one. The ship here is more of a floating museum, except that half of the time during low tide, it sits on the mud bank. I be told that 30 or 40 years ago the Golden Hind in London wanted to dock at St Augustine, but the city told them NO. After 300 years they are still holding a grudge against Sir Frances Drake fer burning down the city, even though they hold a re-enactment called Drakes Raid every year for the past 20 years.

The skirmish (we call an re-enactment) starts out with the authorities check the papers of the English merchant, to discover they be French pirates, so the garrison opens fire to the pirates on board. They have a large wall gun, muskets, blunderbuss, and pistols blasting away at each other. Then the port side troops attack and board the ship. There be a melee aboard an actual wooden tall ship. Cutlasses be clashing all around the ship, with the outnumbered pirates killed or taken prisoners. It was truly wonderful to watch gunfire and sword fighting on a tall ship with pirates and British soldiers in a historic seaport harbor. So much better than most pirate re-enactments that happen in an open field, nowhere near water or ships around. Even pirate event that have tall ships, they normally just have ship to ship cannon firing, but never a boarding action. View Melee Video

This Brixham Pirate Festival once held the World records fer most pirates at one location in 2009, but Hasting currently holds the title with 14,231. This event always happens during the 3 day Bankers Holiday weekend. There be no formal pub crawl event, but the area is filled with a tons of great little pubs and restaurant, just like it must have been during the great Age of Sail two hundred years ago. The pirates here didn’t seem to drink as much as the pirates in the new world. The local shops sold plastic swords n cheap pirate hats to the tourists; there wasn’t much a serious pirate could find to plunder.

Blimey, I did come across an interesting place call Smugglers and Pirates Experience, a large red building that consist of 4 pirate businesses in one place. All the graphics and building be modern n very professional looking. The first be an olde tyme pirate studio, similar to my old business, but the costumes used to dress up be of the fancy pirate outfits shot against a photographic background.

The next business is a 50-minute multimedia experience that cost 7 pounds. It consist of a series of room and tunnels that are set up with a series of screen with project talking characters that tell a story of one certain smuggler, which this area had much real history with. At the end it talks a bit about pirates. I think the pirates be recently added as a marketing pull. It seems that smuggling doesn’t get the respect that pirates get. There be a pirate gift shop of mostly plastic pirate stuff. I was hopping to find a good book on smuggling, but didn’t fine one. The last be a pirate themed restaurant called the Smugglers Retreat. Very targeted to the common tourist and kid market, but not very exciting fer a seasoned pirate re-enactor.

So how does pirating in the New World differ from that in the Old World? In the UK, pirates have been growing; there are currently about 2 dozen events. There is almost no middle class of pirates here, just tourist dressing up in cheap Halloween costumes and serious re-enaactors. It might have to do with the fact that there don’t seem to be vendors for people who want better stuff to buy from. In the New World there is a growing group of pirates that want to wear something better than a quote-unquote “fancy” costume, but is not wanting to spend the time n’ effort of learning to make yar own authentic garb. I think the growth of this middle ground is important fer the overall growth of the pirate market.

The event didn’t have as much to do as pirate festival in the states side, but there be no cost. For the common tourist and even the experienced pirate this be an event worth travelling fer. Overall I be pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy it, yarrrr!


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April Dueling Society Meeting


April 6 be the next meeting of the Dueling Society at Ducky's next door (1719 W. Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606) at 6:30pm.  Come in Pirate Garb, have dinner n' drink.  Get 15% off yar tab if ye show them a receipt from Pirate Fashions.  We be demonstrating the classic French duel with black powder dueling pistols.

Fer more info visit: http://www.meetup.com/duelingsociety/events/171612692/


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Gasparilla Revealed

Jose Gaspar, known by his nickname Gasparilla (1756 – 1821), be a Spanish pirate, the "last of the Buccaneers," who is claimed to have raided the west coast of Florida during the late 18th n' early 19th centuries. Though he be a popular figure in Florida folklore, no evidence of his existence appears in writing before the early 20th century. His legend is celebrated every year in Tampa with the Gasparilla Invasion n' Pirate Parade Festival.

The first Gasparilla parade was held in May 1904, after Tampa Tribune society editor Miss Louise Frances Dodge and Tampa's director of customs George Hardee combined the legend of the dashing pirate and elements of a New Orleans Mardi Gras to give Tampa's relatively sedate May Day celebration a new theme. The festival was carried over into the evening with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's First Coronation Ball held at H.B. Plant's Tampa Bay Hotel where King Edward and Queen Mary Lee were crowned. The first "invasion" was via horseback, with the first sea-based invasion coming in 1911.

As the festival grew, a US Navy ship would be attacked by small boats throwing Cuban bread and black bean soup. The Navy would respond with fire hoses but would succumb to the Ybor City Navy, and then surrender to the Alcalde of Ybor City. The sailors would be treated to an evening on the town. This was discontinued after the September 11, 2001 attacks. However, the invasion itself continues as "Capt. Jose Gaspar" and his crew of "Pirates" "attack" Tampa, surrounded by hundreds of other boaters as they sail the Gasparilla Ship through Tampa Bay, land near downtown and "take over the city."

Historically, Gasparilla was held on the second Monday of February. It was a holiday in Tampa, with schools and many businesses closed. In 1988, the main parade was moved to a Saturday in early February to allow more local communities to take part in the celebration. Since 2005, the event has been held on the last Saturday of January.

The Gasparilla Parade has grown to become the 3rd largest parade in the US, the largest being Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, followed by the Rose Bowl Parade. Annual attendance at the Gasparilla Parade currently runs about 400,000 people but has attracted 1 million attendees in some years. Attendance of Gasparilla is probably equal to the combined total of all 150+ pirate events through out the entire world each year.

In the 1970, the krewes of Gasparilla Pirate Fest begin throwing bead, which is a Mardi Gras tradition. Collecting beads is the main draw of Gasparilla, much more fun than just watching floats drive down the road. Most groups have a special krewe bead with their logo on it, which is very prized to collect.

There are 60 plus different krewe that particapates in the parade each year, about 25 of them are pirate krewes. Each of these krewes range from 50 to 200 members. Last year the YMKG decided not to allow any more new pirate krewe to join the parade. This year the Hard Rock Cafe will be sponsoring the 101st Gasparilla event again. Servicing these Gasparilla krewes is the main reason Pirate Fashions moved to Tampa.



This be arrrr 38th issue of the Pirate Fashions Newsletter for Jan 2013. In transfer the old website to the new one, we had issues transferring the newsletter. So we be reposing the feature article into this blog instead of losing all the past newsletters.

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