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With RNC delayed, delegates find entertainment around bay area

Colorado alternate delegate Francoise Bergan checks her pin after playing “Pin the Tail on the Zebra” at a Largo hotel Monday. A delayed RNC start gave delegates time for other things.

JAY NOLAN | Special to the Times

Colorado alternate delegate Francoise Bergan checks her pin after playing “Pin the Tail on the Zebra” at a Largo hotel Monday. A delayed RNC start gave delegates time for other things.

With a rainy day ahead of them and Monday's opening delayed, delegates found ways to entertain themselves.

• • •

A group from Maryland toured Ybor City.

"I love the Cuban heritage here," said John Fiastro Jr., an alternate delegate from Baltimore.

Alphonso Nation, a guest of the Arkansas delegates, ventured out of the Hilton Garden Inn in Ybor City in search of jerk chicken and key lime pie. He came back hot and empty-handed.

"I'm just trying not to sweat," he said.

A group of 10 delegates drove to Ybor to ride the trolley to the convention hall.

"We were told this was the best way," said Tina Kelly, an alternate delegate from Oklahoma.

In theory, maybe. In practice, they waited an hour.

• • •

A dozen members of the Colorado delegation gathered at a hotel off Ulmerton Road for a game of "Pin the Tail on the Zebra."

Members couldn't find a donkey. The only other alternative, an elephant, wouldn't do. In their version of the game, the winner got to add $1 trillion in debt.

"At my age, I can't believe I'm playing this game," said 52-year-old Francoise Bergan, an alternate delegate from Aurora.

Delegation chairman Sean Conway said the group also planned to play "a new Obama­Care game:" Operation.

• • •

With a storm bearing down, instinct kicked in for delegate Lou Vassberg and alternate Bonnie Brown of the Texas group.

The longtime friends, both 60, got a ride from Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel to the nearest Publix, where they stocked up on beef, carrots, potatoes, salad and honey mustard dressing.

On Sunday night, far from home and 20 miles from the convention hall, they slid a pot roast in the oven.

"We figured if the power went out on Monday, we could at least have cold roast beef sandwiches," Vassberg said. "We're not afraid of hurricanes. We understand them."

• • •

What do you do when it's raining at the beach? Dance.

That's what the delegations from Alaska and Illinois were doing Monday afternoon inside the Postcard Inn on the Beach, in St. Pete Beach.

Alaska's delegates are staying there, and Illinois booked the locals-fave for a party.

Attire? Beach casual.

Staff writers Lisa Buie, Patti Ewald, Shelley Rossetter and Keyonna Summers contributed to this report.

With RNC delayed, delegates find entertainment around bay area 08/27/12 [Last modified: Monday, August 27, 2012 9:49pm]
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