Grand Marshals Announced for 2015 Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates

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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.

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“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," said Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa President John Fontana.

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.”

About Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is the premier entertainment destination of Central Florida and the place where celebrities love to stay and play. Owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, this electrifying casino destination is one of the most successful and largest casinos in the world and is located in Tampa, Florida off of I-4 at North Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, between I-75 and I-275, about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa. Featuring high stakes table games along with thousands of the hottest slot machines, the rock star amenities at this AAA Four Diamond rated hotel and casino range from seven award-winning Zagat-rated restaurants, a newly renovated Rock Spa® and VIP services galore. The casino offers a valet service or free, self-parking. For more information, please call 866-502-PLAY or visit us online and via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Chris Dirato
Bitner Goodman
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Gina Morales
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
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