Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gasparilla Parade changes please most of the crowd at Hyde Park meeting

TAMPA — City leaders and event planners received praise Thursday from most of the Hyde Park and Bayshore Boulevard residents who came to learn about the changes they propose aimed at cleaning up the annual Gasparilla parade.

A few of the 40 or more who attended the meeting Thursday night at Kate Jackson Recreation Center still advocated moving the parade off Bayshore, but most said the city's plans to increase enforcement, double the number of portable toilets, extend and modify the parade route and reach out to local schools about under-age drinking was a gigantic step in the right direction.

Police Maj. Marc Hamlin told the crowd that Tampa police will ask for sheriff's deputies to take responsibility for more of the parade route, freeing city police to patrol neighborhoods and keep rowdy drinkers from urinating and defecating in public.

"We're going to have more mobile booking units so we'll be making more arrests," he said.

EventFest president Darrell Stefany said they will increase the number of Port-O-Lets from 800 to 1,600 and service them during the parade, which will technically quadruple the number by state health rules.

"I think (the new plans are) terrific," said Jack Wyatt, vice president of Hyde Park Preservation Inc. "But it's a tough venue. They talked about Mardi Gras and compared it to Mardi Gras not having Port-O-Lets, but Canal Street has lots of restaurants and bars. Bayshore doesn't."

Wyatt doesn't support a venue change, but said EventFest should get rid of paid seating and corporate tents.

"They city pays $656,000 this year to put on this event and we don't get any (profits) in return," he said. "The seating should be eliminated altogether."

Stefany said no profits are made by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on the parade, and that the corporate tents and seating funds pay the expenses of the 104-year-old event.

The change of the downtown portion of the parade route received a warm reception, as Tampa Department of Public Works director Irvin Lee explained that the move to Ashley Drive from Platt Street creates 70,000 more square feet of viewing space for crowds, and allows paradegoers to enjoy the festivities from Curtis Hixon Park. And the community seemed most pleased with efforts to use the event's clout to educate the young about under-age drinking.

"We're very impressed with the good work that has been done so far," said Ellen Snelling of the Tampa Alcohol Coalition.

She suggested organizers ban open containers and create dry zones on the parade route.

Gasparilla Parade changes please most of the crowd at Hyde Park meeting 05/07/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 7, 2009 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. How did Florida National Guard miss soldier's neo-Nazi leanings?


    Brandon Russell, a private first class assigned to Company C of the 53rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Pinellas Park, has been in the Florida National Guard since February, 2016.

    Brandon Russell, 21, of Tampa, is a Florida National Guardsman accused in a federal complaint of illegal possession of explosives. [From YouTube]
  2. New stores coming to Tyrone Square Mall, like Bath & Body Works


    Tyrone Square Mall will welcome a half dozen new stores, like Bath & Body Works and MidiCi's The Neapolitan Pizza Company, this summer.

  3. Wilson Ramos feeling good and confident, eyeing late June return to Rays


    Sitting on the bench in the Rays dugout in his full catcher's gear, Wilson Ramos talked excitedly Tuesday about the progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and the potential to be back in the major leagues by this time next month.

    "I feel like a player right now,'' Ramos said.

    Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.
  4. Hernando teacher faces sexual battery charges


    BROOKSVILLE — Deputies arrested a teacher on charges of sexual battery Tuesday, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

  5. Drought forces tougher watering restrictions on Tampa Bay


    Homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will be limited to watering their lawns only once a week under new, tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

    A fallen pine tree burns and smolders in a section of pine flatwoods earlier this month in the Starkey Wilderness Preserve in Pasco County. Drought conditions have helped spark wildfires across the state. Now homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will face tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]