Gasparilla watches for new invaders this year: presidential campaigns
This year, Florida's Republican presidential primary comes three days after Gasparilla, creating the chance that Tampa's annual booze-soaked pirate festival will see invaders of a different kind.
Gasparilla, which draws up to 300,000 people, is scheduled for Jan. 28. The moved-up GOP primary is on Jan. 31.
So far, the nonpartisan group Americans Elect is bringing its "Crash the Party" bus tour to Tampa in the hope of reaching out to voters at Gasparilla. As of Monday, however, no GOP presidential campaigns had inquired about trying to get in.
But that wouldn't surprise organizers.
"It will be interesting to see if we get a call with the Florida primary fast approaching," said Darrell Stefany, president of EventFest of Tampa, the company that organizes the parade.