Gasparilla keeps police busy

Officers arrested dozens during all day festival

Despite a pirate invasion and tens of thousands of rowdy revelers, Tampa Police said they were able to maintain order during the nation's third largest parade.

But some partiers took things too far.

Officers arrested three people on felony charges.  But overall, most of the people arrested were charged with misdemeanors ranging from disorderly conduct, theft, and public intoxication.

39 people were charged with misdemeanors, with 12 of those being underage drinkers.  

63 people were cited for open container violations.

Seven people were charged with BUI, or boating under the influence.

Emergency calls also kept Tampa Fire/Rescue busy, as the agency responded to 106 calls for medical help.  41 of those required transport by ambulance.

None of the medical responses was considered life-threatening.

The outstanding weather led organizers to speculate that turnout overall will be high, translating into millions of dollars for downtown Tampa businesses.

"That's a great economic infusion," said Darrell Stefany, a lead Gasparilla organizer.  "We know the downtown merchants and the restaurants enjoy Gasparilla even though it's a struggle to park sometimes and the traffic and congestion," Stefany said.

This year Gasparilla planners tried to steer the thousands of parade watchers downtown into Curtis Hixon park for the official festival after party.

For the first time in 14 years, the post-parade event featured a fireworks display shortly before 10 p.m.

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