Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gasparilla Tips!

A’hoy mates!  Ye ready fer th’ big invasion? Well we have a few gold nuggets of information to help you have a safe and enjoyable time at our city’s annual Gasparilla parade.  

Whether you’re a professional bead catcher or taking your maiden voyage to Gasparilla, be sure to check out the City of Tampa’s webpage for details on traffic, parking, event timelines and maps.  Now, the maps won’t lead you to buried treasure (we think), but they will help you navigate your way through Downtown Tampa and Bayshore Boulevard during the parade on January 31, 2015.

Please leave your coolers at home.  They are not allowed on the parade route.  Granted, we’re not the cooler police.  We won’t be checking every single cooler to make sure there’s baby formula or insulin inside, but if you have a cooler on the parade route you might be asked to remove it and that would not be a fun hike back to the car.  Good news is there will be plenty of vendors stationed along the legal alcohol zone to take care of your adult beverage needs.  Just remember that open containers of alcohol are only allowed in the legal alcohol zone, which is also ____?  You guessed it! The parade route—not the surrounding neighborhoods.  Responsibility is key—don’t drink and drive before or after the event.

If you’re under 21, this Buds not for you!  Underage drinking is a huge no-no and it will not be tolerated. Every year before the big invasion we partner with local public and private high schools, colleges, universities and MacDill Air Force Base to educate students and young adults about the police department’s Zero Tolerance Policy.  The students are listening and taking this message seriously because we haven’t arrested any underage drinkers at the schools where we taught our message. since the campaign started several years ago.  Let’s keep this trend going!

Several hundred-thousand people will line Tampa’s streets to celebrate our city’s rich culture.  With an increased amount of parade goers, it made sense for the police department to add more bike officers along the route and in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Officers on bikes can get through crowds and narrow roadways more quickly on two-wheels instead of four to make sure everyone attending the parade is safe. 

We know Gasparilla is all about catching beads and watching the colorful floats cruise by—oh did we mention catching beads?  But, it’s also your chance to follow the police. On social media that is.  Connect with us @TampaPD on Twitter and Facebook for safety tips and real-time information about the big pirate invasion.  If you spot some suspicious activity or an oddly placed treasure chest then report it to a nearby officer or send in an anonymous tip through TPD’s mobile app.

Remember—we want you to have a great time and go home with a neck-full of beads.  Not a pair of handcuffs. 

Safe beading everyone!

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