Dave Bautista to lead Florida pirate parade

FILE -In this July 10, 2019, file photo, Dave Bautista attends the LA Premiere of "Stuber" at the Regal LA Live on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. A Florida animal shelter sent out a desperate plea after someone had abandoned two pit bull dogs. But volunteers never expected the post would catch the attention of actor Bautista. The 6-year-old pit bulls, Maggie and Ollie, were handed over to the county after their owner had a baby. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Actor and professional wrestler Dave Bautista will join a Florida pirate invasion as the grand marshal for the 2020 Gasparilla Pirate Fest.

Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, which organizes the event, announced Thursday that the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star and six-time WWE champion will share grand marshal duties with Tampa police Lt. Travis Maus for the Parade of Pirates on Jan. 25.

“Dave Bautista and Travis Maus represent some of the best in our Tampa Bay community,” organizer Richard Chapman said in a news release. “Each year, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla selects accomplished individuals that shine a spotlight on our city and give back to others. Both of these gentlemen exemplify these traits and we look forward to welcoming them in the 2020 Gasparilla Parade of Pirates.”

Bautista and Maus will lead more than 103 parade floats, 50 krewes, five marching bands and the infamous Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla pirates through Tampa.

The Gasparilla Pirate Fest has been held nearly every year since 1904 to celebrate the fictitious pirate Jose Gaspar, a popular figure in Florida folklore. A fully-rigged pirate ship will invade Tampa, where the mayor will surrender the Key to the City. The Parade of Pirates will follow the invasion.