Super Bowl Visitors’ Burning Questions

Super Bowl Visitors’ Burning Questions

Published: January 7, 2009

OK, you didn’t get tickets to the game. And it seems they are going to be closing down the main road to get to your house. It’s your anniversary and you were going to take your sweetie to Bern’s but the place is booked solid.

So now you are being told by the Super Bowl Host Committee that in coming days you are supposed to be helpful, courteous and welcoming to visitors, instead of being the crabby cracker that you apparently are.

Super Bowl organizers (and the big game is Feb. 1 if you already haven’t made plans to be out of state) are asking residents to “let visitors know good places to eat, shop and play while in town. If a visitor looks lost, point them in the right direction.”

I think that’s a swell idea. We’ve had Super Bowls in this town before and I’m sure those of you who were around all know the tremendous benefits they have brought to our area: wait a second … give me a minute and it will come to me.

Anyhow, this column is eager to do its part and I have prepared a list of 10 questions you are likely to be asked if you happen to run into a Super Bowl visitor. You might want to clip these out and carry them with you for the next few weeks:


•A visitor asks you where downtown Tampa Bay is and you are standing on Ashley Drive – Point in the direction of I-275, tell them to go up the entrance ramp and go to the east or to the west.

•A visitor says he was driving near the stadium and saw what appeared to be a flying saucer on top of a building advertising nude women and wants to know what that is all about. Explain that Tampa is striving to become known as a “city of the arts” and this is a ballet based loosely on “Star Trek.”

•Where’s the beach? – A common question from tourists who are surprised to learn the beaches lie somewhere on the other side of those condo towers in Pinellas County.

•Where can we get good authentic local cuisine? – It’s my impression most people around here go to drive-through restaurants. I would just send them down the Dale Mabry strip and suggest they look for something in a burger with fries.

•What is that funny-looking sculpture downtown that looks like an exploding chicken? – It’s an exploding chicken.

•What is this event that comes up after the Super Bowl called Gasparilla and should we stay in town for it? – Absolutely. For those of you on a tight budget you will discover that beads are worth more than cash to the locals.

• Isn’t Busch Gardens in Tampa? Is this where you get free beer? – Not anymore. Come back for Gasparilla and ask any pirate and you might get lucky.

•What’s with that giant Confederate flag we saw driving into town? We thought the war was over. – The war is over. We’re just hoping for some foreign aid.

•We heard Ybor City was Tampa’s Latin quarter. Where is it? – It’s not in Ybor City. Ask someone else how to get to West Tampa.

•We drove over to St. Petersburg to see a show at the St. Pete Times Forum and somebody over there said we had to go to Tampa. Is Tampa anywhere near Tampa Bay? – Tampa is not a place. It’s a state of mind. Take off your socks and throw away the tie. Eat a mountain of black beans and rice at a Cuban restaurant. Get into an argument over politics and manage to weave the Bucs into the argument. Light up a cigar while waving your hands in the air and you are in Tampa.


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