Beads, beer, boats, floats — whether you love it or leave it, there's no disputing Gasparilla's OMG, pinch-me-perfect weather.
Ye Mystic Krewe kicked back at Ye Captain's Ball, dancing beneath a full moon at the Tampa Yacht Club on Jan. 24. (Hmmm, full moon, more babies, observed obstetrician/Capt. Jim Von Thron) Hundreds of primped-out pirates wearing fancy skull-and-bone attire partied in a gigantic tent.
Saturday dawned gloriously and by noon, 60 krewes cavorted along Bayshore Boulevard, ready to roll. Crowdsourcing took on a new meaning as thousands upon thousands scrounged for beads. In a tribute to their late co-founder, Krewe of Fort Brooke members renamed their float the ssTodd Bray, said Dick Kirchen, who treasures tales of 20 years of wild times together.
As for corporate tents, "the biggest and the best," claims organizer Chip Fisher, was Sunset Salsa's all-inclusive ticket Bayshore block party between Nance Avenue and Albany Street. For decades, South Tampa friends find their way there, up to 1,000 people this year, he said, downing adult beverages and 23 kegs of beer, Joe Diaz's grilled hot dogs, chicken and pulled pork while rocking with the Distinguished Men of Brass and DJ Arthur Lastra.
Eight charities manned parade beer gardens, including the Tampa Garden Club, which reaped a net profit of $20,000-plus, reports president Missy Weiner, selling beer, wine and parking. The plus? A whopping $815 in bathroom passes and $1,650 in tips.
Tampa Jewish Federation President's Dinner
"My words of wisdom usually involve "Listen to your mother," said ABC News and National Public Radio political commentator Cokie Roberts, speaking at Tampa Jewish Federation's annual President's Dinner on Sunday. Her chatty and insightful talk disparaged the ongoing partisan politics of Washington, D.C.
CEO Gary Gould surprised the nearly 650 guests at A La Carte Event Pavilion by reciting the traditional mourner's prayer to announce the 2013 Tikkun Olam award. Marshall Chernin, Lou Goldfeder, Roberta Golding and Jack Roth were honored posthumously for "towering commitments . . . generosity, energy, enthusiasm . . . drive and deeds," Gould said.
President Sue Schoenbuam announced a six-month extension of the lease on the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, revealing striking architectural renderings of the future Jewish Community Center South, potentially the future home of the city of Tampa arts programs division.