Thursday, February 22, 2018
Events

Tampa airport makes Bollywood star arrivals a rooftop event

A parking garage roof isn't the fanciest venue reserved for International Indian Film Academy celebrities later this month.

But the open-air setting at Tampa International Airport offers relatively cheap and easy access to Bollywood movie stars arriving for IIFA weekend on April 24-26.

Starting today, the ninth floor of the airport's short-term garage is closed to unauthorized vehicles. Workers will transform the roof into a staging area for celebrity arrivals in two weeks.

For the price of parking, fans can gather there to see dance idol Hrithik Roshan, triple IIFA nominee Deepika Padukone and other visiting performers. Bollywood stars are known for fan-friendliness, so chances are good for getting photos and autographs.

"(IIFA has) actually made the airport arrival its own event," airport marketing director Kari Goetz said Wednesday.

"This is a particularly intelligent plan because it allows them to control the experience … rather than it being a free-for-all, which is great from a logistics and visibility standpoint," she said.

The garage roof and its 360-degree view of Tampa Bay will be adorned with IIFA's signature green carpet, a tented staging area and large-screen televisions showing clips from the arriving stars' movies.

Celebrities will disembark at gates on the airport's third floor, then will be escorted to the ninth for an official welcome to Tampa. Awaiting limousines will transport them to hotel destinations.

First arrivals are expected as early as April 21. Goetz doesn't expect issues with parking availability despite temporarily losing an entire floor of spaces. "Given the (garage's) capacity and the time of year, we shouldn't see any impact," she said.

Exactly when celebrities will land in Tampa is unclear. Most IIFA visitors from India will pass through customs and catch connecting flights at New York's JFK or Newark's airport. When famous names appear on official flight manifests, their estimated arrival time in Tampa will be announced on airport and IIFA social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

"Some might be coming really late at night, or in the middle of the day, not necessarily the most convenient times," Goetz said. "I don't know how much of the Bollywood fan base can take off three days of work and hang around a parking garage. However many that is, we're going to have some fun."

The airport's police department will lead security efforts, in cooperation with the FBI, Transportation Security Administration and local law enforcement agencies.

"Everything will be top, top security level," Goetz said. "Plus, these celebrities do travel with their own security contingents, as well."

In addition to welcoming signs, airport personnel will hand out business cards printed in Bollywood's primary language, Hindi, although English is commonly used in international dealings.

"We really did it more as a goodwill gesture," Goetz said. "We've been showing off our cards to the IIFA people, and they think it's really cool that we did it.

"Then they say: 'You know everybody reads English, right?' We're like, yeah, but it's more of a sign that we're very enthusiastic and happy to see them here."

Comments
Adult version of rock, paper, scissors at St. Petersburg bar

Adult version of rock, paper, scissors at St. Petersburg bar

ST. PETERSBURG — Paper covers rock. Scissors cut paper. Rock crushes scissors.If you remembered that as a kid, and somehow mastered it as an adult, you could earn some quick cash.The childhood favorite gets an adult twist Thursday night when SubCentr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Review: John Dufresne gives an entertaining short course in ‘Flash! Writing the Very Short Story’

Review: John Dufresne gives an entertaining short course in ‘Flash! Writing the Very Short Story’

Don’t tell John Dufresne you don’t have time to read.In fact, don’t tell him you don’t have time to write. Instead, spend a little time with his new book, Flash! Writing the Very Short Story. You’ll find a treasure trove of stories you can read in th...
Published: 02/22/18
Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Extreme Monster Energy Supercross Championship: The action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing returns to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Each track in the 16-city series is different, so competitors will ride between 15 and 20 laps around t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

Can you feel it? The air is gradually thickening with humidity and the layers of clothes are getting thinner. Spring has almost sprung and with it brings a bumper crop of festivals in Florida’s theme parks full of food, wine, concerts and parades. Th...
Published: 02/21/18
An original clarinet and bassoon composition highlights Tampa Bay Symphony concert

An original clarinet and bassoon composition highlights Tampa Bay Symphony concert

ST. PETERSBURG — After the National Anthem and some introductory remarks by the maestro, a teacher from Chattanooga, Tenn., addressed a crowd at the Palladium Tuesday about the short work they were about to hear from the Tampa Bay Symphony."This piec...
Published: 02/21/18
Innovative artist Toni Dove’s Embodied Machines and Bekky Buekes’ Black. White. Gold.

Innovative artist Toni Dove’s Embodied Machines and Bekky Buekes’ Black. White. Gold.

Toni Dove: Embodied MachinesIf you were feeling like your art viewing experiences haven’t been high-tech enough lately, the "Embodied Machines" exhibition opening at the Ringling Museum on Sunday will fill that void. It’s the first survey exhibition ...
Published: 02/21/18
Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

BIKE RACE: Monster Energy Supercross ChampionshipThe action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship return to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Motorcyclists will race at more than 60 mph and fly off ju...
Published: 02/21/18
Orchestra debuts commissioned work, slam poet Neil Hilborn performs in Ybor

Orchestra debuts commissioned work, slam poet Neil Hilborn performs in Ybor

FLORIDA ORCHESTRA: NEW BLOODOne of the more significant Florida Orchestra events of the season, the world premiere of a commissioned piece, is this weekend. The orchestra, with personal financial backing from music director Michael Francis and his wi...
Published: 02/21/18
This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Willie NelsonI’m sure that when Willie Nelson had to postpone his recent Clearwater concert after a bout with the flu, you, like me, took the news well, spitting through clenched teeth: "OH NO YOU DON’T, 2018. YOU WILL NOT TAKE WIL...
Published: 02/21/18
Green Thumb, Flamingo Festival and more spring festivals coming to Tampa Bay

Green Thumb, Flamingo Festival and more spring festivals coming to Tampa Bay

spring eventsFlamingo FestivalHelp celebrate the young flock of flamingos that recently arrived at Sunken Gardens at a colorful festival with live music, kids activities, and beer and wine for sale. Wear pink for $1 off admission. $10, $8 seniors, $4...
Published: 02/21/18