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More parachutists, chilly weather in store for Gasparilla Children's Parade

CAROLINA HIDALGO | Times

TAMPA — After the Gasparilla Children's Parade winds down Saturday evening but before the fireworks show begins, there's a new reason to look to the sky.

The Para-Commandos, the U.S. Special Operations jump team, will for the first year do a second precision parachute jump of the day.

"We love what the Para-Commandos do," said Maiken Stefany, event coordinator for EventFest, the company that puts on the Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza. "People always seem to get a kick out of these jumpers."

And this year, there will be more of them. Five or six Para-Commandos will jump during the 3 p.m. and evening shows, double the amount of last year, Stefany said.

For many, though, the main attraction is the parade. Featuring 103 community groups, marching bands and organizations, it starts at 3:30 p.m. and winds north on Bayshore Boulevard from Bay to Bay Boulevard to Orleans Avenue.

Layers of pirate garb may be necessary to stay warm, with temperatures expected to reach only the low 50s Saturday afternoon, said Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay. Winds should die down some, Clay said, and rain is not expected.

Want to get the most out of the day? Arrive early, Stefany said.

"There's lots to do on the parade route prior to the actual parade starting," Stefany said.

Those activities include a bicycle and pedestrian safety rodeo as well as a preschooler's stroll.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3401.

If you go

The Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza begins at 11 a.m. Saturday with vendors and activities along Bayshore Boulevard from Bay to Bay to Watrous and Orleans avenues. For more information, go to gasparillapiratefest.com.

More parachutists, chilly weather in store for Gasparilla Children's Parade 01/16/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 17, 2014 7:03pm]
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