Photos: Bolts Celebrate Stanley Cup Win With Fans At Tampa Riverwalk Boat Parade
Tampa Bay Lightning players were joined by thousands of fans gathered along both sides of Tampa's Riverwalk at a boat parade to celebrate the team's Stanley Cup championship.
While organizers urged social distancing and mask wearing, there was very little of either as fans gathered to celebrate the Tampa Bay Lightning's Stanley Cup victory over the Dallas Stars.
Raf Colina braved the crowds with a couple of friends. He said it's the first large gathering he's attended in months because of the coronavirus.
"It's a bit scary because of what's happening, but since they won the Stanley Cup, this is pretty much the only reason I would go out with a big crowd like this."
Scott Dittmar, of Tarpon Springs, attended the parade with his family. The last time the Bolts won the Stanley Cup, his son was 4 and his youngest daughter was still a baby. They’ve been cheering on the team since it played at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
“It’s a nice day, we’re outside and I’m wearing my mask. And most the people close to me have been wearing their masks,” he said.
Later, the Dittmar family left the spot they staked out along the Riverwalk because the crowds got too dense.
Preston Lawn, an FSU student, said when the Bolts won, he was so happy he cried. He drove down from the school for the boat parade.
“The players miss the fans, but definitely the fans miss being there too," Lawn said. "And I know they wanted to share that moment with the fans, and this is honestly what this I meant for. They get to share it now with us.”
Some of the people along the Riverwalk were there just to get some fresh air. Jessica Balcom was there with her pet umbrella cockatoo, Mickey.
“It’s nice to get a slice of life back. It’s nice to get some sense of normality back," Balcom said. "This place I usually packed almost every weekend.”
A fan rally was held later in the evening at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. More than 15,000 attended that event.