TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Acting Tampa Police Chief Ruben Delgado is expecting big crowds for this year’s Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of Pirates.

The event was canceled in 2021 and Delgado and others are expecting this year’s event to be larger than normal. Remember you can watch the Parade of Pirates on WFLA News Channel 8 and online at WFLA Now beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 29.

“If you are coming to the event, plan ahead. Traffic is going to be bad, we have road closures set in place for certain reasons, so please plan ahead,” Delgado said, standing with other local, state and even Federal Law Enforcement Agencies that will partner with Tampa for safety.

Delgado offered tips for safety and convenience for people coming for the parade.

“Please plan ahead when you park somewhere, take a picture of where you’re at, a crossroads of where you’re at, because when you go back to your car, it may be a little darker, you may not recognize some of the landmarks of where you’re at,” Delgado said who also suggested parents should take a photo of their children on the parade, just in case they get separated in the crowd.

“Parents, we suggest you take a picture of your children. That way, in the rare occasion that you momentarily get separated from them, we have a picture, we have cops on the land, in the water, in the air, we can quickly relocate you to your kid. As long as we have that picture we can send it out to every agency that’s working in this event,” Delgado said.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said she’s expecting large crowds, too, even as the number of COVID cases is surging in the community.

“The Omicron has hit us. It has gone up quickly and all indications are it’s going to come down just as quickly. Those who have been vaccinated and boosted are protected from severe reactions if they contract it and so, personal responsibility at this point,” Castor said.

The city will send out maps and advisories along with useful information to anyone who texts “Gasparilla” to 888-777.