ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — A three day extravaganza at Tradewinds Island Grand Beach Resort kicked off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL regular season, capped by a watch party Sunday. Unfortunately, the event was cut short right before game time by lightning, thunder, and a tornado warning, sending beach goers inside.
“Just enjoying the day with family,” said St. Petersburg resident Cindy Jimenez. “It’s a beautiful day in the sun to kickoff football season.”
Jimenez and her family came out to enjoy all today’s festivities had to offer: a bounce house, football toss, trivia challenge, a Bucs cheerleaders dance class, and more.
“So far, just kind of made our way down some of the little giveaways and got our flag,” Jimenez said. “Going to have a drink and enjoy the day.”
Though Jimenez will watch the game in the air conditioning at home, plenty others stayed the whole night.
“I’m originally from New England,” said Jovani Pires. “Big Brady guy. Got some family down here in Tampa so we came to visit.”
Pires didn’t know the party was happening this weekend, but had to go once he found out. He ended up winning a pair of sunglasses and some Bucs flags. He hoped for a good showing by the team Sunday.
“I do have some Buccaneers players on my fantasy team this year, so I’m looking for a good season from them,” Pires explained.
Jimenez hopes the team gets redemption, and a better result than last year’s ending.
“It’s kind of funny. Like the last two years, since Tom Brady being on the team, I’ve become a fan,” Jimenez said. “So hoping for a good turnout this year.”
The Brady retirement question is on everyone’s mind.
“I’ll be honest with you, I think he should have stayed retired,” Pires said. “Should have just sailed off into the sunset. But we’ll see. Hopefully he doesn’t get hurt this year.”
There was plenty of fun to be had Sunday, despite storms brewing.
“We got drinks, we got food, we got games, we got all kinds of Bucs gear,” said Devren Wilson. “It’s a great time.”
The Tradewinds Entertainment Manager also served as emcee for some of the contest.
“It’s probably going to be a beautiful sunset behind you,” Wilson said. “The game’s going to be playing right in front of you, you’re right here on the sand. To me it’s a perfect way to watch a game.”
On Friday, Tradewinds had food and drinks and showed Bucs highlights from last season. Saturday was the start of the cornhole tournament and a country concert featuring Maddie & Tae and Pirate Flag Band — despite the wet weather.
“Yesterday it started off a little rough due to the weather, but we actually pulled through,” Wilson said. “The Tradewinds staff, they scrambled to make it happen.”