Tampa Margarita Festival
Tampa Margarita Festival is getting a lot of negative feedback from irate customers and I'm happy to say even though there were problems with our adventure they wouldn't keep me from coming back. With 13,000 people in attendance long lines are to be expected, and our wait to get in was maybe 30 minutes. It didn't look like the VIP line took long if you got there early but I saw a lot of complaints that the VIP line to get in was taking just as long as our general admission line that was only about 30 minutes.
We did Uber down there, back after dinner and then back to my friends and with parking costing $20 I would definitely suggest it was the way to go because out rides only cost about $7 each way. I did see that people found cheaper parking in the Poe garage, which is where they suggest you park. It would have been nice to have a designated drop/pick-up zone for those that did Uber.
WristbandsWe arrived between 12:30 and 1:00, getting our wrist bands topped up at 1:15 according to my welcome email. They used RFID wristbands which you load money to in minimum of $5 increments. One of the biggest complaints was that if you didn't use all of your money and wanted a refund you would be charged $3.50. For couples that could be a loss of $7! I've done the ticket thing where you don't get ANY money back, but at least you can combine tickets. You had to stand in line to top them up, apparently there was supposed to be a way to load them through a website on your phone but I saw some people saying they couldn't get that to work.
I was one of two at my first tent that got charged twice for my first drink. It was a delicious red Sangrita and I should have just taken the two I was charged for and moved on with my day but I wanted to be able to try more than one kind of margarita!! I ended up waiting about 30 minutes to get the money refunded to me and while I was waiting they were very apologetic and even gave me a koozie. They didn't have to do that and I know it was a long hard day for the workers there that kept the show running.
FoodAfter I got my refund, we stopped by two food tents to get a taco and some nachos. The nachos were delicious, totally worth the money and because I'm not in the habit of taking pictures of everything I forgot to take pics of my food, lol. The first taco was $5 and only came with the meat, lettuce and cheese. No few chips on the side, a little disappointing because across the way where I went to get the nachos for $10 with pulled pork, pico, cheese, etc. my friend got two tacos and a few chips with cheese sauce for $10.
MargaritasEach margarita started at $7.25 from what I could see. It would have been nice to know this ahead of time to calculate and fill your wristband accordingly. Waters were $2.50 each and I ended up buying four total. Two at the beginning and then two to use up my wristband money at the end!!
I only tried three different margaritas.
Ocean Blue Run Rita - vanilla rum, pineapple juice and classic marg ingredients. This one is the teal color everyone kept commenting on while we were walking around.
Summer Breeze Margarita
My favorite was the Ocean Blue Rum Rita and I'm going to try and replicate it because the mermaid color was just gorgeous and the sweet deliciousness has stayed with me all week!
The Shade and SeatingI didn't think there were near enough shaded areas. What they had got crowded quickly and if it wasn't for this concrete arena area near the river we wouldn't have had a place to relax.
With the lack of shade and seating, I did end up almost passing out...not from the drinking, but from the heat. I do outside things quite a bit like Universal and Disney BUT I usually stop in shops with air conditioning frequently. I was a little shocked they didn't have a medical tent with that many people there. They did have EMTs but if they came to check you out they were going to send you in an ambulance to the ER...no thank you when all I needed was some shade, a seat and to bring my body temperature down. We ended up sitting on the grass in the shade between two vendors where I quickly warmed up the water bottles we'd recently purchased with my body heat. The staff was pretty accommodating while I struggled with the heat and now I know to take one of those mini electric fans.
I was not compensated or given free tickets for this event. I spent $15 for a General Admission ticket at Walgreens and saved $10 from the door price!! Cheapest tickets was definitely the way to go and I bought them the morning of!!! I tried winning tickets on every blog giving them away but none of them panned out so I was glad I could still get the cheap tickets the morning of.