Memorial Day Weekend is almost here, and Tampa is ready to celebrate the beginning of summer. For many, this is the weekend that brings the promise of light and warmth to those who have suffered through a long, cold winter. If this applies to you, there is no better place to throw off the shackles of winter than in Tampa.
Celebrate the beginning of summer with Tampa's favorite cocktail at Memorial weekend's Margarita Festival — Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Margarita Festival
Beginning Saturday, May 24, Tampa’s summer celebrations begin with the two-day Tampa Bay Margarita Festival. Located on the downtown waterfront in Curtis Hixon Park, this open-air festival features live music, fireworks, games, sand sculptures and - of course - a truck-full of margaritas. There are almost 20 different kinds of margaritas featured at this year’s festival, all carefully crafted by master mixologists.
Try the Grand Peach Cobbler margarita made with peach puree, cinnamon, premium tequila and Grand Marnier. Or if you’re looking for a more traditional variety, check out the Hornitos Classic, featuring lemon-lime soda, DeKuyper Triple Sec and Hornitos Plata. Try and taste them all!
For non-margarita drinkers, beer will be available, and food options will be provided by plenty of local food trucks on hand - the perfect way to soak up some of that tequila.
Headline entertainment is being provided by Los Lonely Boys, a popular American Chicano rock trio that plays a style of music they call "Texican Rock n' Roll," combining elements of rock, blues, soul, country and Tejano. Their latest album Revelations was released in January of this year.
Other music acts include Thomas Wynn and the Believers, Amber Lynn Nicole, Southern Train Band and the Kirk McEwen Band.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 day of - if it’s not sold out. Don’t procrastinate; get your tickets early, as the 2013 event was sold out several days in advance.
There are also VIP tickets available, providing entry to the Grand Marnier VIP Cantina, where they serve endless margaritas at a private bar area. There is also a VIP Cabana, where groups of up to 20 enjoy a private, shaded area with lounge seating and private bottle service. Check the event website for details and combo tickets.
Stay safe by staying close. Two hotels are offering special rates for festival attendees. The nearby Howard Johnson Plaza is offering rooms for $95 per night, free shuttles and 20% discount on food and beverages. Even more special, Tampa’s newest boutique hotel sensation - Epicurean Hotel - is offering a special rate of $149 per night. Although it’s located a little farther away, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience this exclusive hotel at a great price.