L A I C E SP N O I T I D E
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Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn Sees Gasparilla as a Look at Tampa’s History and Future By Michael Newberger
Tampa residents tend to see Gasparilla as a Tampa tradition, and most of all a great party. Mayor Bob Buckhorn understands the entertainment factor of the event but also sees it as a boon to the economy and a look into the city’s future. In an interview with InsightTampa, Buckhorn discussed the importance of the events, in particular the pirate “invasion,” and the logistics that go into the fun. Gasparilla is Tampa’s largest event and brings in throngs of visitors from across the country, particularly the Southeast. The mayor notes that it’s one of the largest celebrations in the area and is one of the city’s most important facets.
feels that the parade exists as a mirror to the city. He’s proud of the changing face of the floats and krewes, saying there’s a better representation of women, races and orientations than ever before. “There’s a float or organization for whatever floats your boat,” he says referring to the folks present in the parade. The city plays more of a behind the scenes role in the festivities Saturday, leaving most of the ceremonial duties to Ye Mystic Krewe, the longtime organizer of the festival. The city mainly focuses on the less glamorous yet important parts of hosting so many people, namely law enforcement and cleaning up the inevitable mess almost half a million people will leave. Cleanup usually goes smoothly, saying that the city “knows what the situation is and how to do it”, and that they’re able to have everything back to normal by the next morning.
Buckhorn notes that there’s a large boost in business for the bay area from the festivities, particularly in the restaurant and hotel businesses. According to a 2007 study by the Tampa Bay Times, the event brings in over $20 million to the Bay Area. The mayor says the city sees the effects of the economic increase mainly through sales taxes and while the money is nice, it’s not the main reason for holding the event. “That’s not why we do it, it’s part of Tampa’s fabric.” As Tampa’s demographics continue to shift, Buckhorn
Law enforcement has stepped up in recent years at Gasparilla in order to fight its more recent reputation of rowdiness and underage drinking. Buckhorn says one of the most crucial things in restoring some order has been the limitation of just what revelers can bring with them, by banning coolers its cut down on the level of drinking, especially by those under 21. The main thing the city’s fought to combat is the amount of underage drinking; the mayor and the school system have been making an effort to spread the word through Tampa’s middle and high schools that illegal drinking will not be tolerated. “It had gotten more unruly that it should have. We’ve really cracked down on underage drinking” Buckhorn says. “If your kid’s going to go to Gasparilla, we don’t mid them coming home with a chest of beads, but not a pair
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of handcuffs.” The mayor does play some role in the spectacle, most notably meeting with the pirates this Tuesday to negotiate the “surrender” of the city, which was promptly refused. Buckhorn will be a part of the flotilla of invaders on Saturday and will relinquish the key to the city thus triggering the parade of pirates. The Gasparilla events aren’t just relegated to the invasion on Saturday, including a variety of events in the coming weeks such as the Knight Parade in Ybor, the Gasparilla Distance Classic and the film festival. Buckhorn’s hoping that the increased traffic to the downtown area will help spur more interest in the area by residents of the city. Increasing a focus on the urban area is one of the mayor’s main projects and he feels that the Gasparilla events improve the perception of the region drastically. “It energizes downtown and Ybor, you have something going on downtown for 12 weeks.” the mayor said. “It’s nonstop, you’ll have 10,000 people coming downtown. It’s alive down here.”
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Gasparilla HOT SPOTS
Hattrick’s Tavern 107 South Franklin St. Normal restaurant serving accommodations, party on the outside patio. Cover $5
Frankie’s 909 West Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33606 Kegs n’ Eggs. $20 all you can eat breakfast buffet, drafts and a mimosa bar 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. All day parking is available for $20 dollars
2013 Gasparilla Block Party 3114 Bay to Bay blvd. Located inside and outside of Wings Gone Wild, the Block Party features music on two stages. the event is from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Admittance is $25 in advance and includes 4 draft beers and one menu item. Prior to the event Wings Gone Wild will be hosting Kegs and Eggs from 7 a.m.-11 a.m. serving drinks and breakfast. No cover.
Macdinton’s 405 South Howard Avenue Gasparilla Post Party featuring live music. $10 cover. Gaspar Grilla, unlimited food and drinks from 4-6 on Sunday. Cover is $20
Jackson’s Bistro 601 South Harbour Island Blvd Jackson’s offers a great view of the “invasion” and will be operating it’s regular menu in the dining area as well as a viewing party on it’s back patio. No Cover.
Gasparilla SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
The Gasparilla Invasion presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla
TIME: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. ROUTE: The Jose Gasparilla sets sail at the south end of Hillsborough Bay at 11:30 a.m., sails north to Seddon Channel (between Davis Island and Harbour Island), continues north and docks at the Tampa Convention Center at 1 p.m. VIEWING: The best seats for the invasion are at the Gasparilla Invasion Brunch at the Convention Center (reserved ticket required). However, there are many other places in downtown Tampa – many waterfront hotels, places along Davis Island and Harbour Island – to view this spectacular event! ADMISSION: Free
Gasparilla Invasion Brunch TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m. LOCATION: Tampa Convention Center 333 S. Franklin Street, Tampa Parking is available at the Tampa Convention Center and throughout downtown, but plan to arrive early as parking fills up quickly for the event. ADMISSION: Reserved ticket required for adults and for children over the age of two.
Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla
TIME: 2 p.m. – approx. 5:30 p.m. ROUTE: The parade begins at Bay to Bay
Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard. It continues along Bayshore Boulevard to Brorein Street, turns east on Brorein Street, then north on Ashley Drive. The parade ends at Cass Street & Ashley Drive VIEWING: Reserved bleacher seats are the best way to secure a spot for this unique, lively parade. (See “Admission” below.) There are many locations open to the public along Bayshore Boulevard and in downtown Tampa for viewing the parade. ADMISSION: Free Reserved seating is available. Children two and under must remain in an adult’s lap.
Gasparilla Pirate Fest Street Festival
The streets of downtown Tampa will again host the Pirate Fest street festival along Florida Avenue, from Kennedy Boulevard to Channelside Drive. The merriment begins before the pirates invade the City and continues until long after the last pirate parades through the streets! The 2013 Pirate Fest Street Festival will feature stages of live entertainment and food. WHEN: Saturday, January 26, 2013 TIME: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. LOCATION: Downtown Tampa, along Ashley Drive. from Kennedy Blvd. to Cass Street ADMISSION: Free
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Criminal Defense Attorneys Comment on Gasparilla, Avoiding Arrest, and Police Enforcement By Michael P. Maddux
My firm frequently writes for Insight Tampa on issues of social justice. In this role, I am an advocate of identifying events that can create legal quagmires. As a unique signature event of Tampa, Gasparilla has the potential to deliver fun for thousands and misery for some. My fellow board certified criminal defense lawyer, W.F. Casey Ebsary, has been writing about Gasparilla for years in his various blogs and web sites, www.centrallaw.com. With the event this weekend, I share his insights: Tampa Police Department (TPD) used to arrest between 200 and 400 people each Gasparilla on alcohol charges. Now many are issued civil citations for violating the open container law which includes a fine of $75 - $450. In 2012, TPD issued 302 open container civil citations. Tampa Police Department also arrested 8 pirates for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and 27 underage drinking pirates. Believe it or not, it is possible to enjoy the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion without waking up with a criminal record or regretting your own birth. Tampa Police Department (TPD) is committed to protect and serve during this year’s Gasparilla Festivities. As you take in the festivities, you may feel like someone is watching you. “Big Brother” is probably watching. The Tampa Police Department has been using mobile surveillance camera units put in place to help secure the Republican National Convention last year. So before you act consider anonymity is probably not in place. Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor believes the cameras will help to stop fights and find lost children. American Civil Liberties Union of Florida president Mike Pheneger said, “It sounds like (Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor) wants to use them [the cameras] for a set of problems that haven’t materialized in previous Gasparilla parades.” The Tampa Police will also use Bobcat Golf Carts, bicycles, Segways, and horses.
In crowd situations, law enforcement can be hyper vigilant. Police can use swift aggressive tactics to intervene in a crowd. Their fear is the crowd turns against them. Yet crowds can become hostile because they witness tactics that seem brutal. Give police space and keep your hands in clear view to avoid getting pulled into confrontations.
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Here are a list of guidelines to follow so you will not need legal representation.
Strictly Enforced By the TPD:
• Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol • Open containers only permitted in designated areas • Alcohol may not be consumed from kegs or large vessels • Must purchase alcohol from vendors • Only cans or plastic bottles permitted; no glass or Styrofoam cups or containers • Use port-o-lets and other restroom facilities, no public urination [make sure when you visit a port-o-let that you are not outside of designated drinking area with alcohol] • No Fighting • No Property damage • No Trespassing - the parade goes through resi dential neighborhoods be respectful of their private property. • No nudity or flashing (not even in exchange for beads) • No Public intoxication • No Driving under the influence • No motorized vehicles or bicycles • No Weapons • No Illegal drugs • No coolers
Submitted by Michael P. Maddux, a board certified Tampa criminal defense attorney, see www.madduxattorneys.com and W.F. Casey Ebsary, Jr., a board certified Tampa criminal defense attorney, see www.centrallaw.com
Some Good Ideas:
• Park Remotely - There will be plenty of parking at Raymond James Stadium with a shuttle to the parade route. There is also parking in the Ybor City Garage and take the street car trolley. Some will park in downtown Tampa and Channelside garages or parking lots. • Drink water. Standing outside can dehydrate you and alcohol won’t help. • Eat before you start drinking. • Assign a Designated Driver or plan on taking a taxi home. • Don’t throw away recyclables look for recycling receptacles. • Respect other people’s property – Golden Rule – what would you want done or not done to or on your property?
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