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Downtown Tampa Businesses Prepare For Gasparilla

Jan 29, 2016

The excitement for Saturday's annual Gasparilla Parade is ramping up, but some local businesses along the parade route are closing down.

About 500,000 people expected to be part of the pirate invasion of Tampa. Gasparilla has had a rowdy reputation for the number of parade-goers found drinking throughout the day.

That reputation is why some businesses are boarding up while others are opening their doors to the invaders.

Some businesses near the route say the customers just don't come in once the roads close and the ones that do head straight for the bathroom.

Bars and restaurants like Zudar’s have drink and food specials just for the weekend.

Eric Weinstein, director of operations at Zudar’s, said he expects the parade to bring in a lot of business this year.

While he is happy to be where he calls "ground zero," Zudar’s will be hiring some extra security.

“It's a great, great day here and a different day for Tampa,” Weinstein said. “Some of the rules go out the window (during Gasparilla), but not all of the rules.”

Fences and barricades are already going up along the parade route for Saturday morning. Bayshore Boulevard will shut down at 10 p.m. Friday night.

We have a list of all the Gasparilla road closures available here.