Gasparilla schedule & tips
It's time for bead catching and pirate watching. Here are some tips if you're heading out to the Gasparilla festivities today.
Authorities say the underage drinking, public urination and public sex that took place in the past won't be tolerated. So use the portable toilets — there are 1,600 this year — and know that there will be 275 officers in the neighborhoods and another 1,100 along the parade route.
Drinking is still okay along the parade route, but doing so in neighborhoods will get you arrested. Small coolers will be allowed at the parade, but bottles are off-limits.
As always, getting there will be at least half the battle. Until the end of the event, illegally parked cars will be towed from neighborhoods. For more parking tips, see information at right.
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If you go
These Gasparilla events are all today in Tampa. Visit gasparillafest.com or call (813) 251-8844.
Pirate Street Festival: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Ashley Drive from Kennedy Boulevard to Cass Street, with three stages of live music. Collective Soul concert (free) at 8 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
Pirate Fest Invasion: The pirate ship Jose Gasparilla, joined by smaller boats, sails into the south end of Hillsborough Bay at 11:30 a.m. and docks at the convention center at 1 p.m.
Parade of the Pirates: The parade runs from 2 to 5:30 p.m. It begins at Bay to Bay and Bayshore boulevards and ends downtown at Cass Street. Free admission. Bleacher seats ($28) available through gasparillapiratefest.com; any remaining tickets will be sold at the parade. Open seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Parking: Garages and lots will be available throughout downtown and Ybor City. The TECO Line Streetcar from Ybor City to downtown will run from 9 a.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. In Ybor City, park at the Centro Ybor or Palm Avenue garages. Call (813) 242-5484 for Ybor City parking information. A one-day unlimited streetcar pass ($5) is available. Board the Streetcar at Centro Ybor and take it to the transportation plaza across from Convention Center. HARTline will have regular Saturday service to the downtown transit center.