This weekend, the city of Tampa celebrates lawlessness and intoxication by remembering when it was overrun by pirates. As opposed to the lawlessness and intoxication that goes on the rest of the year.
Naturally, the local infotainment outlets are making much of the event.
Apparently some locals started celebrating early.
I love a good party as much as anyone. But Gasparilla has devolved into a drunken brawlfest with little to recommend it but a boat parade and decent weather. Any event where the streets have to be closed, revellers fenced in and police patrols more than doubled is more headache than holiday.
I also find it perverse public policy to encourage such a festival in a community without a truly functional public transit system: to get to the many events invariably involves driving, which is a recipe for increased DUI citations and more than a few accidents.
UPDATE: TBO.com reports that there were one hundred forty one arrests, including fifty seven for underage drinking and four for boating under the influence, and eighty medical emergencies, none serious. Seventy three of the arrests occurred before 7:30 pm.