A touch of Gasparilla in Tallahassee
Jose Gaspar is trying his hand at lobbying today.
Tampa resident Mike Norton dressed up as the legendary pirate and inspiration for Tampa's annual Gasparilla festival as part of an armada of Tampa groups that converged on Tallahassee as part of Hillsborough Day.
The Lowry Park Zoo, the Museum of Science & Industry, and the Florida Aquarium were all among those who filled up the courtyard near the state Capitol Complex to promote Tampa. Norton, part of a pirate ship float organized in part by Visit Tampa, was handing out silver beads with a silouette of downtown Tampa's skyline to anyone who got close to him.
Hillsborough Day comes as many of those same groups have a lot at stake in the budget debate that will be on both the floor of the House and Senate today. In the proposed spending plans, Lowry Park Zoo stands to get $500,000 for its manatee hospital and the Florida Aquarium stands to get as much as $1 million for its marine conservation and research facility near Apollo Beach.