How to avoid Gasparilla traffic on Sat. 1-28

(L-R) Theron T.R. Butler, Hugh Timoney, Giles Davies and Carla Corvo in Jobsite's Hamlet.The Gasparilla Pirate Fest and parade are taking place on Sat., Jan. 28.  The Pirate Fest will run from 9am to 8pm at Curtis Hixon Park, and the parade will run from 2-6pm.  The most significant road closures adjacent to The Straz will begin at around 1pm, and the Poe Garage will be closed from 1-6pm.  The City cannot guarantee when the roads or the Poe will reopen, although they will work to reopen everything as soon as possible after the parade ends.  Please visit https://www.tampa.gov/special-events-coordination/gasparilla-parades-2023-information for more details about the parade route, road closures, and parking options.

Anyone coming to HAMLET should arrive early and approach The Straz from the north side of the campus to avoid Gasparilla congestion.  If you are using the interstate, please use the following directions (the “back way”) to The Straz:

From I-275 southbound or I-4 westbound:

  • Take Exit 45A (Downtown East-West)
  • Follow signs to Downtown West Ashley Drive
  • Stay right and take the Doyle Carlton exit
  • Turn left on Doyle Carlton and continue to the intersection of Doyle Carlton and Laurel Street; if you encounter a road closure at the intersection of Doyle Carlton and Laurel Street, please inform the police officer at the intersection that you are attending a performance at the Straz Center
    • Continue on Doyle Carlton to the Straz Center

From I-275 northbound (from Pinellas, etc.):

  • Take Exit 44 (Scott Street)
  • Take the first right on Ashley Drive and proceed to Laurel Street
  • Take a right on Laurel Street and proceed to Doyle CarltonTurn left on Doyle Carlton; if you encounter a road closure at the intersection of Doyle Carlton and Laurel Street, please inform the police officer at the intersection that you are attending a performance at the Straz Center
    • Continue on Doyle Carlton to the Straz Center

If coming from north of downtown, we recommend taking Tampa St. toward downtown and making the first right once you go under 275, then follow the instructions above for Doyle Carlton/Laurel Street. We also recommend parking in the Royal Regional, Tampa Bay Times Garage or Anchor Garage lots.

We’ve performed on Gasparilla for well over 20 years and can assure you it is not as scary as you might think if you follow these instructions and make sure to give yourself plenty of time!

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