As most of you know, our go-to drink of the moment MUST be tequila based. So, when our friend Megan at I Run For Wine, was holding a giveaway for free tix to the 2nd Annual Tampa Bay Margarita Festival in Curtis Hixon Park downtown, I knew I HAD to enter to win! We had been to last year’s event when we found GA tickets on Living Social for cheap, and really had a great time! After a quick email entry, I completely forgot I had entered until I received an email saying, “Congrats, you’ve won!” With two GA tickets under my belt and our past enjoyment of the event last year, I was so excited to start planning our day. What I wasn’t expecting was when I had followed up with Megan and she explained that she was bummed she couldn’t go and she needed to also pass on 2 VIP Grand Marnier Tasting Tickets too! Without a thought, I snagged those too and now our team at NHIE was ALL SET to enjoy a day of margaritas, sun and good music!
As we asked around to friends to see who would be attending the event, we realized a lot of our friends would be enjoying the drinking festivities as well (We even had a friend coming in from Miami to join in the fun!). Saturday came and Ryan and I headed off to catch the next Hart bus to get to the park downtown (always trying to support the local economy and neither of us were looking to be stuck driving and finding parking downtown). The bus made it really easy to enjoy the day (especially if you are a USF alum and have your ID card…the ride is completely free ALL THE TIME).
We made it over to the park in no time and waited in line to head inside. By this time it was only around 3pm and the lines were comfortable in length. The VIP line was shorter (as it should be), but for some reason, the scanners being used to scan mobile tickets were causing some hold ups at the front of the line. Eventually, we made it inside and surveyed the open area for the VIP tent. After making a b-line to the tent, we hopped in line at one of the many shaded bars and looked over the menu options we could choose from. As part of the VIP experience, attendees are able to enjoy a full stocked tent complete with bars, shade, fans with mist and a photobooth as well. Not to mention- UNLIMITED DRINKS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR TICKET!
Another perk to going VIP is the top shelf tequila used in ALL of the drinks made. Our options for drinks included:
1. The Grand Margartia: made with premium tequila and Grand Marnier (our top pick)
2. The Grand Mango Jalapeno Margarita
3. The Grand Raspberry Peach Margarita
4. The Grand Prickly Pear Margarita
5. The Grand Peach Cobbler Margarita
We did not spend much time in the VIP tent throughout the day, other than to refill on drinks and cool down for a minute or two. Instead, we set up camp in the open field by the stage to enjoy the great weather and entertainment performing on stage. We eventually got hungry, so Ryan grabbed us some treats from our favorite food truck lady, Tasty Stacy, and some tacos from another stand.
As the sun went down in Curtis Hixon, we found ourselves really taking in the sights of our great city of Tampa. Surrounded by a group of our close friends and sipping on some delicious margaritas, we made sure to snap a few pics. After maybe one too many margs for some of us, we made the “conscious” choice to head home for the evening, closing out another wonderful day in Tampa Bay! Be sure to mark your calendars for Memorial Day Weekend 2015 for the 3rd Annual Tampa Bay Margarita Festival, which promises to bring even more awesome drinks, tunes and SHADE!