ST. PETERSBURG — Thousands of delegates and thousands more journalists will gather for a party next year at Tropicana Field for the Republican National Convention, said the director of Pinellas County's tourism agency.
D. T. Minich of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater said the event shows how the Republican Party convention, while based primarily in Tampa, will span both sides of Tampa Bay.
"We're thrilled to be a part of it," Minich said.
Minich discussed the party during an interview and also mentioned it Wednesday while updating the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership about the convention.
Previously, the Tampa Bay Rays said they had agreed not to play a baseball game at Tropicana Field on Sunday, Aug. 26, to accommodate a Republican National Convention event.
However, the president of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee said he couldn't confirm the plans Minich described.
"There are no definitive plans for any particular events at this time," host committee president Ken Jones said. "We are looking at a wide array of options across the bay area, including in St. Petersburg and Clearwater and including at Tropicana Field, but the details of those events are not yet solidified."
The party would be on a day when many delegates and journalists would just be getting into the area. It would be similar to a reception the night before a business conference — but on a bigger scale.
The 2012 convention itself will run from Aug. 27 to 30 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa and is expected to draw nearly 50,000 delegates, volunteers, journalists, convention staffers and visitors.
The Rays also have been asked to make the stadium available later in the week, which is not a problem because the Rays will be on a road trip.
However, Minich and Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said they have not heard whether the Trop will be needed for convention purposes after Aug. 26.
Staff writer Richard Danielson contributed to this report.