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'Make a plan': City leaders give tips for a safe and successful Gasparilla 2022

Mayor Jane Castor says the best way to enjoy the pirate invasion is to be prepared before you come.

TAMPA, Fla. — Gasparilla season is upon us. 

And before we grab our pirate gear and head to Bayshore Boulevard, Tampa city leaders say the smartest thing you can do is make a plan ahead of time.

According to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, that starts with understanding your "level of personal responsibility."

“We continue to encourage individuals to be vaccinated and to be boosted and if you are immune-compromised or you have other health issues then we ask that you stay home and enjoy Gasparilla festivities on television," she said.

Castor added that attendees should do their best to spread out along the parade route and wear a mask when they aren't able to.

Tampa Police Interim Chief Ruben Delgado explained that the department is partnering with more than a dozen local agencies and businesses to ensure the safety of the upcoming celebration. He added, however, that you can do your part to make the day run smoothly by preparing ahead of time.

As Delgado explained, that includes getting familiar with the parade route, road closures and parking, and where the bathrooms are located.

He also said it's a good idea to take a picture of where you park to make it easier to find your car later in the day. And if you come to the event with kids, take a picture of them so that law enforcement can help you find them in the event that you get separated.

Mike McPherson, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Tampa field office, explained that the agency will have tactical teams, special bomb technicians, intelligence units and more all working alongside local law enforcement agencies. You can help make their jobs easier by following the "see something, say something" campaign, he added.

Mayor Castor left us with a reminder to maintain a "bead-free bay."

“No throwing beads out on the water because everybody's aim is not so good, the catch not so good, and who pays for that but our sea life and we want to keep our bay beautiful," she said.

Plus, if we make our Gasparilla plans now, we can spend more time preparing for the pirate invasion.

“This year we will not surrender the City of Tampa to those gnarly Gasparilla pirates, and that is a fact," Castor said.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Gasparilla Pirate Fest 2022

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