Tampa Bay, Florida: Rich History & Vibrant Culture
Blog post courtesy of All Pro Realty Network
Tampa, Florida, nick-named “The Big Guava”, home of the first passenger airline, actual inventors of the Cuban Sandwich, and the only city to be annually invaded by pirates.
Tampa Bay is a beautiful place to live. With a rich history and vibrant culture, the area continues to grow and develop into one of the highest ranked cities in the Southeast to live in. Actually, according to Money Magazine, Tampa was ranked #1 Best Large City in the Southeast and one of five “Urban Gems” across the U.S. offering an abundance of culture and amenities at “livable prices” in 2015.
Tampa has all the advantages of Florida, warm weather, water, and multiple attractions including; museums, theme parks, numerous professional sports teams, festivals, parades, and a thriving brewery and restaurant scene.
If you dive deeper into the neighborhoods of Tampa, you will find each features their own unique history and is home to some very beloved local gems. From the charming bungalows and shops that fill Hyde Park, Palma Ceia, Davis Island, and Bayshore to the historical and cultural vibrancy of Ybor City (the Cigar Capital of the world) Tampa has something for everybody.
Tampa continues to grow and thrive with a large entrepreneurial community, the 4th fastest growing job market in the country, and many large national companies are moving their headquarters to the area, branding us with the moniker “Wall Street of the South.”
Tampa is not just a city for young professionals, with our great school system and array of neighborhoods and surrounding suburban areas, more and more families are settling in the area. It’s also ranked one of the best places to retire, when you’re ready.
Despite all the metropolitan hustle and bustle, Tampa residents have an easy going coastal lifestyle. Residents enjoy our cheerful weather at the beaches, fishing, or golfing at some of the U. S’s most beautiful courses. While others take in one of Tampa’s most stunning views by running along Bayshore Boulevard, the world’s largest continuous sidewalk, that outlines the bay. Tampa truly is the best of both worlds.
Speaking of Bayshore Boulevard, Tampa is home to one of the most celebrated and recognized parades in the U.S, the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates. Since 1904, Gasparilla events have taken place from late January to early February.
“The theme of the Gasparilla Festival was inspired by the local legend of José Gaspar, a Spanish naval officer who turned to piracy. Different legends say that he was either a nobleman and adviser to King Charles III of Spain, who was exiled after a romantic scandal in the Spanish court or an ambitious young officer in the Spanish navy who was driven to mutiny by a tyrannically cruel captain. Whatever his reasons, the stories agree that Gaspar stole away in the late 1700s to the virtually uninhabited southwestern coast of Spanish Florida and established a secret base at Charlotte Harbor.
The focal point of Gasparilla is a friendly "invasion" by mythical pirate José Gaspar and his crew. On the day of the Gasparilla Parade of Pirates, members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG), accompanied by a flotilla of hundreds of smaller boats, sail across Tampa Bay to downtown Tampa on the Jose Gasparilla, a 165' long "pirate" ship. Once the ship lands, the pirate captain demands that the mayor hand over the key to the city in a playful ceremony which has had different outcomes in different years. Whether or not the mayor actually "surrenders", the pirates hold their "victory parade" through the streets of Tampa. During the parade, members of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and dozens of other krewes throw beads, coins, and other souvenir trinkets to the throngs along the parade route.” – Gasparilla Pirate Festival, Wikipedia.
The Gasparilla season has grown to include more events over the years with the Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Night Parade, Gasparilla Music Festival, and Gasparilla Film Festival. Of course, other smaller events such as fundraisers, a road race, arts festival, etc. take place as well.
More Tampa Facts
For the Foodie:
- Tampa is home to both the oldest brewery and the oldest restaurant in Florida. The Florida Brewing Company was built in 1897 and The Columbia Restaurant started in 1905.
- Even though it’s called a Cuban, the famous sandwich was invented in Tampa (Ybor City). Don’t tell that to Miami, because they want to claim it as their own, but everyone agrees, a Cuban with salami is definitely a Tampa thing.
- Bern’s Wine Cellar is one of the most respected in the world – “with more than 6,800 unique wine labels, 5,500 red wines, 1,000 white wines and more than 200 sparkling wines. In addition, we feature about 300 Madeiras, Ports and Sherries by the glass, as well as 200 table wines served by the glass with vintages to 1973.” – Bernsteakhouse.com
- The Tampa Bay area is home to almost 50 breweries and microbreweries.
- Rated 13th best place for coffee lovers in 2016 – WalletHub
For the Sport’s Fan:
- Jason Maniecki, Team Leader of All Pro Realty Network was a defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 - 1998.
- Babe Ruth hit his longest home run during an exhibition game in Tampa—587 feet. –MentalFloss.com
- It took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 years to return a kickoff for a touchdown. – MentalFloss.com
- Tampa Bay Lightning, a NHL team was established in 1992. Won their only Stanley Cup in 2003 – ‘04, they were Division Champions in ’02 –’03 and ’03 – ’04, and they were Conference Champions in ’03 – ’04, ’14 – ’15.
- Tampa Bay Rays (formerly Devil Rays), and MLB team began playing in 1998. Won the AL Pennant in 2008, East Division Titles in ’08 and ’10, and Wild Card berths in ’11 and ’13.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a NFL team was established in 1976. Won Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002. The Bucs were Conference Champions in ’02 and have won 6 Division Championships in ’79, ’81, ’99, ’02, ’05, and ’07. They have 10 playoff appearances.
- Tampa is also home to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the North American Soccer League, 6 MLB spring training camps, the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League, and a number of minor league franchises.
Culture & Arts:
- Tampa is home to multiple venues and performing arts centers which allows us to be a major stop for famous musicians and bands, theater groups, off-Broadway plays, and other artistic acts.
- Home to the Tampa Children’s Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, and the Tampa Bay History center.
- Tampa Hosted the 15th Annual International Indian Film Academy’s Weekend and Awards (also known as the Bollywood Awards) in 2014. First time being held in the United States.
- Home of the Gasparilla International Film Festival, Gasparilla Music Festival, Sunset Music Festival, Big Guava, Music Festival, Summer Concert Series, Neon Feather Festival, Chillin Music Festival, and Conga Caliente Festival.
- Home to Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Aquarium.
Photo courtesy of Tampa Hillsborough EDC
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