Tampa police kick off Gasparilla enforcement at children's parade

TAMPA - Tabitha Barmann's family loves the Gasparilla Children's Parade.

"My daughter was up at seven this morning saying, 'I'm ready for the Gasparilla parade. I'm ready to go,'" she said.

The Barmanns love it so much that they got to the parade route six hours early.

"We had to get a good seat for the kids," Barmann said.

Barmann said she wanted her kids to enjoy the children's parade because she refuses to bring them to the big pirate invasion and parade next weekend.

"I don't think it is kid appropriate," she said.

Barmann's mom, Darlene, grew up attending Tampa's huge Gasparilla celebration, but she said that over time, the parade atmosphere has changed quite a bit.

"It was very family-oriented back in the day and I don't think it is so much anymore," said Darlene Barmann.

Tabitha agrees: "There is too much drinking, rough housing and foul language. I don't think my kids need to be around that."

Tampa Police Department Sgt. Jarrett Seal was assigned to patrol the parade route.

"I've worked about 17 Gasparilla parades," Seal said. "We don't have as many problems or issues as we do now (at the children's parade) than we do with the larger day parade."

According to Seal, the department sees more issues with the adult event, because drinking is allowed in certain areas - plus the crowd is much larger.

That's where law enforcement comes into play.

 "Anything that you see that we do - we do for a reason," said Seal. "It all surrounds the safety of our citizens."

On Monday, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor plan to unveil a new approach to Gasparilla's zero tolerance plan aimed at keeping the public safe.

However, Barmann insists that she will only take her children to the family-friendly festivities.

"As long as they continue to have it we will be out here with the kids," she said.

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