Episode Description

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (YMKG) Executive Officer, Don Barnes, dives deep into the rich history and vibrant present of one Tampa Bay’s most iconic traditions—the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. Hosted by the esteemed YMKG, the legendary event transforms the city into a pirate’s playground every year. Join us to explore how Gasparilla started as a small community event in 1904 and has grown into a major celebration that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. We’ll discuss the festival’s economic impact, from boosting local businesses and tourism to generating millions in revenue for the region. The beloved tradition not only fills the streets with parades and festivities but it also fosters a sense of community and pride among Tampa Bay residents.

Meet The Guest

Don Barnes

Executive Officer of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla

Don Barnes has led Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla as executive director and chief pirate wrangler since 2011, when he retired from an outstanding 26 year career in the Air Force and his final station as base commander at MacDill Airforce Base here in Tampa. His military career included 6 promotions across 17 assignments around the world, including a deployment to Iraq and 5 different Pentagon assignments. During his service, Don earned 9 major awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit with an oak leaf cluster which is awarded for outstanding service, fidelity, and loyalty in either combat or noncombat positions.