TAMPA, Fla. — Arghhh you ready to kick off the Gasparilla season with the children's parade Saturday? We hope the answer is yes!
While the big party for the adults is set for Jan. 29, the kids first get a chance to shine in their pirate garb a week early.
In preparation for the big day, you might have some questions on where to park, what the parade route is, where to stand and much more.
Well, guess what? We have the answers for you!
Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure an eventful and fun Gasparilla Children's Parade:
For this big event to kick off, some parts of downtown Tampa will be shut off from the rest of the public.
12:01 a.m. closures
- Bayshore Boulevard between W. Gandy Boulevard and W. Platt Street
- W. Bay to Bay Boulevard between S. Ysabella Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard
- Davis Islands Bridge off-ramp onto Bayshore Boulevard
9 a.m. closures
- Outside lanes on W. Bay to Bay Boulevard between S. MacDill Avenue and S. Ysabella Avenue
3 p.m. closures
- Eastbound lanes on W. Bay to Bay Boulevard to S. Ysabella Avenue
There will be barricades and signs set up to help with the flow of traffic, city leaders explain. The closed-off areas are expected to return to normal by midnight.
Anyone interested can check out all road closures here.
Good news — there will be no confusing twists and turns for the children's parade.
The parade route is set to be a straight shot down Bayshore Boulevard.
Starting at W. Bay to Bay Boulevard, the krewes, marching bands, dance groups and other parade entertainers will make their way down the long waterway street for all the guests to see.
The parade will then end at S. Edison Avenue, just before S. Boulevard.
Make sure to look at the map of the parade route before heading to the event.
Throughout downtown Tampa, there are multiple parking garages and lots for people to park in.
These city-run garages have a special event parking rate which you pay upon entry, the event's website explains.
Local businesses will also be selling parking passes for event-goers to park on their properties.
ADA parking is offered right off of Howard Avenue.
There will also be a free Jolley Roger Trolley making continuous loops to pick up and drop off event attendees at the intersections of both Platt Street and Bayshore Boulevard, as well as Bay to Bay Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard.
Parking in bordering neighborhoods of the parade is not allowed. The Tampa Police Department will be strictly enforcing the event parking policies.
Where to stand
The open parade viewing area starts at Rubideaux Street and goes all the way up until S. Edison Avenue.
This means the early birds get first pickings on where to stand to get the best view during the parade.
There is also an area for the disabled to comfortably view the parade as well. Right across the way from the parking location, there is a designated ADA viewing area where Howard Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard meet.
Not wanting to stand the whole time? There is reserved seating which can be purchased in advance on the Gasparilla Treasures website.
For $55, families can choose where on the parade route to sit.
So, where exactly do pirates use the bathroom? Well during the parade, there are slim options to choose from.
There will be portable bathrooms set up throughout the event site for parade-goers to use.
You'll be able to find rows of restrooms in multiple areas along the stretch of Bayshore Boulevard as you watch the parade.
Anyone not particularly fond of port-a-potties can find restrooms at locations surrounding the parade area like Armature Works, Hyde Park or maybe even at the Publix Super Market on Bayshore.
For parents with young children, there are options available for those needs too.
"We do have a diaper changing station that First Baptist Church assists us with," said Maiken Stefany, an event coordinator with Gasparilla Children's Parade. "It's located in the center medium of Bayshore near Gunby, just south of Rome. For parents with young ones that may need extra space, we do have that. It's a tent, it's completely enclosed."
There will be sanitation stations located along the parade route. Event organizers recommend you still bring a personal supply in case stations run out.
While families are preparing for the Gasparilla Children's Parade, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Perno warns about celebrating during the ongoing pandemic.
"I know it’s outside but can you mask when you’re in large groups? Can you avoid these gatherings," he said. "I think families really need to think twice to protect their young children at this point."
It's recommended families bring and wear masks in areas where social distancing is not possible. The parade is expecting large crowds with some seating sections already sold out.