Gasparilla Safety Tips: How to survive the invasion

The pirates are about to descend on Tampa Bay again and throw an enormous party with parades, beads, music and organized debauchery. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe during Tampa Bay’s wildest fest.

PHOTOS: Gasparilla 2016 

1. Stay cool and hydrated – granted, the parades are in January which is not the hottest month of the year, it will most likely be in the 70s during the day and may get hot in the crowd. You can buy beverages from the vendors, but it’s always helpful to have a small bottle of water with you. But NO Styrofoam cups or containers and NO GLASS.

2. Follow the drinking laws and make sure to have your photo ID with you. You will be carded by vendors and police officers may ask you for your ID as well.

3. DO NOT bring your own alcohol to the events.

4. No tents, no coolers (except for small soft-sided ones for baby or medical needs). You can’t use any ropes to mark your spot either.

5. But do bring cash – the vendors take mostly cash and you will need cab fare if you are drinking.

6. Bring ye crew too – it is safer to attend any mass events with your buddies and it’s more fun that way.

7. Stay away from bead bullies and don’t become one. Some people will push, shove and hit just to grab one extra string. Try and stay away from them and remembers – this plastic jewelry is not worth a bruise or even a broken nose.

8. Get your pirate on early – arrive before the parade starts, pay attention to where you are – notice the cross streets, the closest vendor, and stay put – remember, you can’t mark your spot with anything other than yourself.

9. Don’t drink and boat. Here is more information on the boating safety.

10. Plan ahead for parking – the local spots along the parade route are VERY LIMITED, you may have to park further and walk or take a cab to the parade.

11. Find a bathroom – there are always port-o-lets along the route but there never seems to be enough. Urination in public is strictly prohibited.

12. Check the weather forecast – and make sure to have an umbrella or a rain poncho ready in case it rains.

(Sources: Bradenton Herald; GasparillaPirateFest.com; USFOracle.com)

 

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