As the sun begins to set, Tampa's downtown comes alive as the light jumps from surface to glass to reflect off one facade and creeps onto another. The Franklin Exchange Building, just visible on the left as the darker, shorter skyscraper, was once Tampa's tallest. Now dwarfed by all the newer office towers, it peeks out at a city that has grown up and outward over the decades. In the foreground, moored at its dock on Bayshore Boulevard, is the proud ship Jose Gaspar. The Gaspar, slowly disappearing into the evening shadows, reappears in all its glory just once a year as it carries the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla to its invasion of our fair city. The flotilla of ships and raucous parade annually attract close to 400,000 revelers who celebrate the city's takeover by the marauding pirates. For now, the Gaspar rocks quietly, tugging at its ropes, its sails furled, while the darkness of the night envelopes her and the cityscape behind.