68 arrested, dozens of others cited at Gasparilla - WFLA News Channel 8

68 arrested, dozens of others cited at Gasparilla

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The pirates were back for their annual invasion of Tampa Bay Saturday. An estimated 300,000 people packed Bayshore Boulevard to take part in the fun.

"It's a gorgeous day, even if I did have to surrender the key," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn as he walked along the street handing out beads.

More than 100 community groups sponsored floats for this year's festivities. Blue skies served as a beautiful back drop as beads flew through the air.

"It feels like you are a rock star. There's nothing better on the planet," said Heather Payne as she rode on the Unsinkable Krewe of Molly Brown's Titanic replica float.

City of Tampa crews spent Saturday night cleaning up the mess left behind when the crowds cleared out. Beer cans, plastic cups, and thousands of strands of beads lined the streets of south Tampa.

A few dozen pirates continued their party downtown Saturday night at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Several bands played in a free concert, but the full day of festivities may have left many Gasparilla goers too tired to enjoy it.

Tampa Police credit their zero tolerance education campaign for a reduction in underage drinking. 31 minors were arrested Saturday for underage drinking, a number lower than previous years. 37 adults were also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, petit theft, and possession of marijuana. Police also handed out 131 citations to people caught drinking in non-designated "wet zones."

If you didn't get enough Gasparilla fun in this weekend, another pirate parade will be held Feb. 9th in Ybor City.  It starts at 7 PM.

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