Look back at 12 months of TBAY stories

From Gasparilla to Hurricane Idalia, and a few Taylor Swift shows in between, it’s been a big year, TBAY.

Storm surge floods Bayshore Boulevard. The Tampa Convention Center is in the background.

Hurricane Idalia was one of 2023’s biggest TBAY stories.

As we approach the end of 2023, it’s a good opportunity to look back and reflect on the year. Plenty has happened in the Tampa Bay area, and we rounded up one big story from each month to refresh your memory:


The 2023 Gasparilla Pirate Fest was — yet again — a roaring success.

This year was the 106th celebration, and 300,000+ visitors descended on TBAY for the invasion + parade. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful’s “After Gasparilla Cleanup” brought 400+ volunteers out the day after the festivities. The sign up to volunteer in 2024 is open.


Tom Brady announced his retirement with a video posted on social media.

It was the second year in a row the legendary quarterback said he was leaving the NFL, but he made it clear this time was “for good.” Brady made the move to Tampa Bay back in 2020, spending three years with the team + leading them to victory in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in 2021.


Carole Baskin, of “Tiger King” fame, told the world she was selling Big Cat Rescue.

Most of the animals will be sent to Arkansas, while some will live out their remaining days at the facility in Tampa’s Citrus Park neighborhood.

A float for the Krewe of Italia at Gasparilla, 2023. There are people baying for beads in the crowd.

Another year, another Gaspy.

Photo by TBAYtoday


Taylor Swift lit up the Ray Jay stage as her “Eras Tour” came to TBAY.

The iconic singer-songwriter played three nights at the stadium, all of which had sold out crowds. Swift + fans braved a 92º heat index on the third and final night.


The annual Riverfest took over downtown Tampa.

The celebration included live music, a host of food + drink options, a taco fest, and a lighted lantern parade, all for the thousands of visitors who made their way down.


Coachman Park + the Sound opened in Clearwater.

The 19-acre concert spot opened its doors to a massive crowd for live music, food, vendors, and other activities. The Sound boasts 4,000 covered seats and 5,000 lawn spots.

Phoebe the Flamingo up close at Tampa International Airport. There are people walking behind her through the terminal.

It was a big year for TBAY’s most popular stationary bird.


Phoebe the Flamingo was honored with prestigious CODAawards.

Tampa International Airport’s 21-ft sculpture project — originally titled “HOME” — won the awards for People’s Choice + Transportation. We were lucky enough to speak with the artist Matthew Mazzotta.


The Tampa Bay area braced for Hurricane Idalia.

While the worst impacts of the Category Four storm did not impact TBAY directly, our area did suffer damage, including flooding in areas like Bayshore Boulevard and Gulfport, and the sand dunes were also washed away at Treasure Island’s Sunset Beach.


The Tampa Bay Rays locked in plans for a new home.

The team announced plans for a new $1.3 billion stadium in St. Pete’s Historic Gas Plant District. The redeveloped area will not only have a 30,000-seat arena, but will also boast a concert venue, office space, housing, hotel, new museum, and more. The Rays hope to move there from the Trop in 2028.

A yellow Tesla DASH Suv sits in downtown Tampa. It's parked by a pharmacy.

It’s hard to miss Tampa’s brightly colored mode of transport.

Photo by TBAYtoday


Tesla’s low-cost rideshare service, DASH, launched in downtown Tampa.

The golden SUVs offer rides from 20 different locations, cost $2 per journey, and can be accessed via an app.


The Tampa Bay area received more news about its first professional women’s soccer team.

Leaders launched the new team’s name and colors at an event in Ybor City. Tampa Bay Sun Football Club will play its inaugural USL Super League season starting August 2024. The Sun will transform facilities at Howard W. Blake High School for home games by the Hillsborough River.


Watering restrictions were introduced for Hillsborough and Pinellas residents.

Restrictions came as a result of the driest rainy season in 26 years, according to the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The one day of watering per week rule was introduced because of just ~26.8 inches of rainfall coming down between June and September.