Fans, businesses prepare for third championship boat parade in 10 months

Thousands of bolts fans will converge on the riverfront Monday morning for a boat parade to celebrate back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In less than 24 hours, the waters of Champa Bay will be a sea of Lightning fans.

"It's incredible. It's something that is only done in Tampa. Only ever going to be done in Tampa I hope. It's uniquely us," Bolts fan Neal Hargis said.

Fans like Hargis are already scouting out their plans for where to watch. The parade is set to kick off at 11 a.m. Monday near the Davis Island Yacht Club. The route will stretch more than 2.7 miles down the Hillsborough River.

"It's amazing. The energy from the fans. This year will be a little bit different. We've had a little more time to plan. I think there will be more fans participating, but last year was pretty intense," Bolts fan Katie Falcon said.

Sunday, crews spent the day finishing setting up at Julian B. Lane Park, where the celebration continues after the parade.

Meanwhile, restaurants along with the riverfront like Jackon's Bistro on Harbour Island are preparing for big crowds.

"We’re ready to go. The excitement that’s been around here the last few weeks for the playoffs has been electric and we are always ready to do that at Jackson’s and provide for all the people to come here and have a great time," Jackson's Bistro Bar Manager Travis Lampe said.

To accommodate the morning crowds, Jackon's is opening up 30 minutes early Monday. Lampe says the restaurant is also bringing in extra staff and setting up portable bars near the water.

"I'm going to be cruising around on my bicycle. Going along the Riverwalk. Get some good photos of the players. Get a spot at the park and the see trophy," Hargis said.

The following bridges will be closed to pedestrian traffic:

  • Laurel Street Bridge
  • Cass Street Bridge
  • Kennedy Boulevard Bridge
  • Brorein Street Bridge
  • Platt Street Bridge