The annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival will be held in Tampa, Florida on January 28, 2012. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flood Bayshore Boulevard to watch the parade. While the event is always a good time for all, an unfortunate truth is that over the last few years there have been thousands of arrests made for crimes such as open container, DUI, BUI, and disorderly conduct. So what do you need to know for Gasparilla 2012? Here are some of the major rules and regulations you and your friends should remember.
CAN I BRING MY OWN ALCOHOL TO THE EVENT?
According to the Official Gasparilla website, "you are permitted to bring in your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, please keep in mind that glass containers and coolers are not permitted for safety reasons. Glass containers are prohibited by City of Tampa ordinance, and bulky coolers are a safety hazard in large crowds." The official website does not indicate that alcohol is prohibited; however it does indicate that alcohol can be purchased at the parade in designated "Beer Garden" areas. Additionally, you should be aware that police will be enforcing Tampa's "Open Container" law.
WHAT ARE THE OPEN CONTAINER RULES?
Under the City of Tampa's Municipal Code, Sec. 3-40 "Consumption and possession of open containers on streets, sidewalks, alleys and other public property", :
(a) It is unlawful for any person to consume, assist or aid another to consume any alcoholic beverage upon any street, sidewalk, alley or other public property within the city.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage upon any street, sidewalk, alley or other public property, including public or semi-public parking lots, within the city.
(1) As used in subsection (b), "open container" means any vessel or container containing an alcoholic beverage, including beer or wine, which is immediately capable of consumption or the seal of which has been broken.
(2) An open container shall be considered to be in the possession of the person if the container is in the physical control of such person.
(c) Subsections (a) and (b) do not apply when:
(1) The street, sidewalk, alley, or other public property receives a temporary or permanent alcoholic beverage special use permit pursuant to chapter 27, and if applicable section 3-41, of this Code; or
(2) A portion of a sidewalk has been leased and permitted as a sidewalk café as provided for in chapter 22 of this Code; or
(3) A portion of the street, connecting sidewalk or alley has been marked and/or designated as a crossing for a public golf course.
(d) Violation of this section is a civil infraction punishable as a Class I violation as specified in Tampa Code section 23.5-5
(e) A violation of this section is deemed an irreparable or irreversible violation and may result in an immediate citation.
You should also note that Underaged Possession of Alcohol in Florida is a misdemeanor criminal offense. If convicted of alcohol possession by a person under the age of 21, you can receive a fine of up to $500 plus court costs, possible jail time, and even a possible suspension of your license.
WHAT ITEMS ARE PROHIBITED?
•No styrofoam cups or containers
•Advertising of an any product or service
•Glass containers of any sort (City Ordinance)
•Coolers – Note: Small soft-sided cooler and lunch bags are permitted for childcare needs and medical needs only.
•Contests or lotteries of any kind
•Tents of any sort
•Fence, stakes or rope (used by spectators to reserve space for parade viewing)
•Sampling or give-away of any product or service
•Selling any product or service
•Solicitation or database development of any kind
•Vehicles of any sort
•Weapons of any sort
•Illegal drugs of any sort
DOWNTOWN & YBOR CITY PARKING?
According to the Official Gasparilla website, "throughout downtown Tampa and Ybor City, parking is available in various garages and lots. These garages have a one-time special event parking rate paid upon entry.Please Note: Parking enforcement in the area of festivities and the neighborhoods bordering the parade route will begin on Thursday afternoon. Friday at 8 a.m to NOON pink slip warnings will be distributed. Parking tickets will be issued for illegal parking from NOON until 10 p.m. on Friday." You should also note that, after 10:00 PM on Friday and until the end of the event, cars will be towed. Be aware, Tampa Police Department will tow cars which will result in additional fees and the inconvenience of having to get your car out of impound!
According to the Official Gasparilla website, "you can hop on-board the TECO Line Streetcar in Ybor City and ride it into Downtown Tampa. Park your car at the Centro Ybor Parking Garage or the Palm Avenue Garage. It's only $1.00 for the first three hours; $4 for over 3 hours.For Ybor City parking information call (813) 242-5484.You can buy a 1-Day Unlimited Ride Pass for just $5 using cash or credit/debit cards at Ticket Vending Machines, located at all streetcar stations in Ybor City. During Gasparilla, the streetcar line will begin operations from Eighth Avenue and 20th Street (Centennial Park Station) in Ybor City and end at Dick Greco Plaza in Downtown Tampa, just blocks away from Platt Street and Bayshore Boulevard - the heart of the Gasparilla Pirate Fest! HART will provide continuous streetcar service 9 a.m. – 2 a.m.In addition, HART will operate buses 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. from Ybor City (Streetcar Society and Cadrecha Plaza stations) to Downtown Tampa, and 4 - 7 p.m. from Downtown Tampa (Greco Plaza and Tampa Tribune Station) to Ybor City."
Be careful at the parade this year and have a good time. For other questions or concerns, please contact the law firm of Taracks & Associates at 813-281-2897.