Big Announcement on Grand Marshals for Gasparilla 2015

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, along with EventFest, Inc., Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and WFLA News Channel 8, announced today that U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Chris Faris and television show host Mario Lopez will be the Grand Marshals for the 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is in the middle of a three-year run as title sponsor of the Gasparilla Pirate Fest, which is scheduled for January 30-31, 2015. The event will feature the 100th Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates, presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, as well as the Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival.

Command Sergeant Major Faris is the former senior enlisted advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base. He’s a 30-year distinguished military veteran and special operations leader who has deployed in support of combat operations in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was awarded the Purple Heart in 1993 for injuries received during the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, and cumulatively has been awarded seven Bronze Stars, one with Valor Service, as well as earning both the Defense Superior Service Medal and Legion of Merit.

Lopez is the host of “Extra,” the Emmy® Award-winning entertainment news program which is in the midst of its 21st season. Lopez is in his seventh season as the show’s host. Perhaps best remembered as the character “A.C. Slater” on the television hit Saved By The Bell, Lopez has guest starred on numerous shows, performed on Broadway and landed on the New York Times best seller list with his healthy-eating guide Extra Lean and its follow up Extra Lean Family. He also currently hosts MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew and hosts iHeartRadio’s Weekly Countdown, which can be heard in Tampa Bay every Sunday morning on iHeartRadio’s Mix 100.7 FM from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“It’s with great pride we announce the Grand Marshals for the 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates, as we have chosen two individuals that will help draw positive attention to this iconic event in our community,” said Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa President John Fontana. “Command Sergeant Major Chris Faris is a true American hero and someone we all look up to with utmost respect for his service to our country.

“Also in line with Seminole Hard Rock’s position as central Florida’s premier entertainment destination, Mario Lopez is part of the fabric of pop culture that will resonate with Tampa Bay, so we’re extremely pleased he’ll be a part of this special event as well.”


Command Sergeant Major Chris Faris