Trying to watch the boat parade? Follow along with our live blog.
TAMPA — The Buccaneers will celebrate their Super Bowl 55 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on the water with a boat parade Wednesday on the Hillsborough River in Tampa.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m. near Armature Works. Fans will be able to watch along the Riverwalk, Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Curtis Hixon Park and other waterside spots. Those who can’t attend in person can watch a live stream from the Buccaneers, city of Tampa and Hillsborough County social media accounts, said an official involved in the planning.
The parade will head south from Armature Works and end at Sparkman Wharf, said Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan in a Wednesday-night video.
All bridges that cross the Hillsborough River from Laurel Street to Platt Street will be closed while players and the Vince Lombardi Trophy pass, according to a news release issued by city officials on Wednesday night.
Unlike the Lightning celebration in September, boaters won’t be allowed to take part in the procession, which will include Mayor Jane Castor and city and county leadership, along with an unspecified number of Buccaneers players and personnel.
Bucs fans with boats can still attend the parade, however. The city is just requiring that their vessels stay 50 feet from the official boats. Those who wander too close could face criminal charges, according to the release.
No post-boat parade festivities will take place, another departure from the Tampa Bay Lightning celebration in September when thousands of fans celebrated at Raymond James Stadium with the team after that boat parade.
A designated Americans with Disabilities Act accessible area will be available on the Tampa Riverwalk behind the Tampa Convention Center for viewing of the parade.
Castor’s executive order mandating masks outdoors will remain in effect, the city announced.
“Please be a team player and mask up,” said Hagan. “If you’ve recently been exposed to COVID-19, don’t put others at risk — watch the parade from home.”
Fans able to attend should have a nice day to enjoy the festivities. There will be no chance of rain then, according to the National Weather Service.
Bay waters will have waves less than a foot at 2 p.m., said Meteorologist Austen Flannery. There won’t be a need to cover up Bucs jerseys with jackets, either.
Flannery said Tampa should be a warm 80 degrees with a slight breeze by early afternoon.
”Overall, it is far from a terrible day for a boat parade,” he said.
The parade had to be quickly organized because of the number of Bucs players and coaches who are planning to leave Tampa Bay this week.
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The news that the Bucs and the city would formally celebrate their win cleared up a day of confusion and speculation.
Mayor Jane Castor had promised Monday that the city would celebrate the Bucs’ win. Then, Bucs coach Bruce Arians told the Los Angeles Times that there wouldn’t be a parade because of the pandemic.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford said Wednesday that the team plans to host another parade-like celebration in the future once COVID-19 is under control.
“We look forward to celebrating with the best fans in the NFL,” Ford said. “But it’s essential that we do it the right way.”
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