TAMPA — How do you teach an old pirate new tricks?
Jim Robbins, captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, coined a sly slogan to sell his mates on this year's extended parade route, which will roll one-third of a mile more, ending at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
Come Saturday morning, along with bloody scars and blackened teeth, his men will pin on buttons reminding them of the new finish line.
The mischievous mantra: "Go all the way."
Stretching the trek farther from Bayshore Boulevard, says Robbins, will ease congestion in neighborhoods along the rest of the parade route, which has been a major complaint of residents.
"Go all the way" is meant to propel pirates to the downtown park, Robbins said, and encourage them not to veer off or otherwise stop short.
"Our goal is to make sure our folks get to the Ashley Street corridor and provide the thousands of anticipated spectators a great day," said Robbins.
Sure, matey, but "Go all the way"? The slogan arose despite organizers vowing zero tolerance for bad behavior, including underage drinking, lewd behavior and public urination.
Robbins swears the double entendre is not meant to encourage wanton wildness.
"A lot of people did a lot of work to address those concerns and I don't want to detract from the seriousness,'' he said. "But we're having fun with it."
All 59 krewes participating in the 105-unit parade have been told to take their own steps to make sure their members are provisioned and prepared for the entire length of the parade.
InterKrewe Council president Steve Plotz expects the new route to improve chances for bead-grabbers.
"Most of us are veterans and we'll pace ourselves, at least a case, case-and-a-half of beads each,'' said Plotz, who belongs to the Krewe of Black Swan.
The elongated path is "not an issue whatsoever," he said. "We want to throw beads as long as we can."
If the buttons aren't enough of an incentive, Robbins plans more direct action. The final three Mystic Krewe floats— a cave, a jail and a giant pelican — will be restocked with beads and beverages just before they turn onto Ashley Drive. That's when they will swoop up straggling pirates in need of a lift.
From there, buses will be standing by to shuttle the tired, hungry pirates to supper at the University Club, the Palma Ceia Country Club and Tampa Yacht Club.
Reach Amy Scherzer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3332.