Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and what better time to kick off lazy days by the pool than a toast to that favorite summer cocktail, the margarita. This combination of a crusty, salted rim and a citrus-studded sweet drink creates an etiquette dilemma. When it comes with a straw are you supposed to quietly sip, when we all know that's not the best way? Each sip should combine the flavors, so that's why you lick salt from the rim of the glass and rotate your way around. Right? Who's with us?
Saturday's Margarita Festival in Tampa's Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park comes complete with its own beach volleyball court to make you forget you are in the middle of downtown and not on some muscle beach. Though the traditional lime-agave-tequila variety in classic and frozen styles will be pouring, some of the mixmasters are getting creative: Grand Mango Jalapeno Margarita anyone? There's even a special edition Red Bull-Rita if you get sleepy and the Junior League of Tampa's Pomegranate Margarita.
A range of bands will play, including Tribal Style, Riders of the Easy Posse, Southern Train and headliner Daniel B. Marshall at 8:15 p.m. The day ends with a fireworks show at 9:45 p.m. A lineup of food trucks will be on hand and margaritas $4 to $8 per cup. The first 2,500 margarita lovers to arrive get free Cayman Jack premium margaritas, while supplies last.
The party starts at 2 p.m. and is for 21 and older only; no pets or coolers. Advance tickets are $15, $20 at the door. VIP with unlimited food and drinks is $85-$100 at the park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 421-3527. See tampamargaritafest.com.