Going to Children's Gasparilla Parade? We have tips
Pirate invasions don't scare veteran moms. Try keeping up with kids in a crowded, daylong parade event while resisting the siren call of street vendors hawking cotton candy and securing precious bathroom breaks without a long wait. Now that's a feat worthy of Jose Gaspar's admiration
With this weekend's Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza, we have some tips for weathering the invasion.
The alcohol-free event welcoming the Gasparilla season includes the pre-schoolers stroll, a bicycle safety rodeo starting at 11 a.m., an air invasion, a family-friendly Gasparilla parade at 3:30 p.m. followed by fireworks at 7 p.m. Oh did we forget something? Right ... BEADS!
Here's some tips for wee pirates:
• Bring food, water and money. No large coolers or glass containers are allowed, but small, soft-sided coolers or lunch bags can do the job. There will be portable ATMs along the route, but most have steep charges.
•Use the shuttles that will operate two continuous routes from the South Regional Garage at Florida Avenue and Channelside Drive and at the Fort Brooke Garage at Franklin and Whiting streets. Cost: $5 for adults. Kids ride free. Or, you can hop on board the TECO Line Streetcar ($5 for an unlimited pass) in Ybor City and ride it into downtown Tampa. Park your car at the Centro Ybor Parking Garage or the Palm Avenue Garage. It’s $1 for the first three hours; $4 for over three hours. For Ybor City parking information call (813) 242-5484.
•If you get there early, it’s less crowded on the water side of Bayshore Boulevard because later in the day you can no longer cross the street. But keep in mind that bathroom access may be limited there. Find your loo before you drop anchor.
• Portable bathrooms will be in place throughout the event site, but lines tend to get long, so plan accordingly. Pack some hand sanitizer.
•Stock your backpack with an extra bag or two for the kids to hold all their loot and beads.
•If you have pirate gear from Halloween, wear it. Nothing is too much here, including plumed tri-corner hats, anchor tattoos and fake parrots on your shoulder.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma