Tampa Bay Political Getaway: Visit the Republican National Convention

Looking for a vacation with some meaning? Well, the Republican National Committee just announced that it’s selected Tampa Bay for its 2012 presidential convention. So, don an elephant hat and start pushing for access now! More than 40,000 visitors are expected to hit the city the week of the convention (August 27, 2012), more than 15,000 of which will be members of the media.

According to Paul Catoe, president and CEO of Tampa Bay & Company, “This will be the largest non-sporting event that Tampa Bay has ever hosted and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome the 2012 RNC to our vibrant destination.” He also noted, “Tampa Bay is a dynamic destination that offers warm weather and even warmer hospitality, and I know we will produce the most memorable convention ever.”

If the 2008 convention in Minneapolis can be used to gauge the impact, some big cash should flow through Tampa Bay, especially for the hospitality industry. At the last Republican National Convention, 2,800 new jobs were created, bringing with them $100 million in wages.

Catoe observed, “The 2012 convention will be held during a time period that historically one of our lowest periods of the year for hotel occupancy.” He continued, “Having an additional 40,000 visitors in our community will provide an economic boost for businesses both in the hospitality industry, as well as those indirectly involved.”

Florida in the sumer may be tough, but at least you’ll sweat to be a part of history.

[Via Cigar Reader]

St. Paul to Party All Night for RNC

If you are looking for an all night party, head for the Twin Cities next weekend.

Seriously. It’s the RNC, but even if you are affiliated with another political party, be it of the mainstream or fringe variety, it might be worth the trip.

In a bid to bring more convention dollars into the area, St. Paul’s city council decided to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. That’s two hours past the usual last call. The catch: the bars would have to pay a hefty fee to the city.

But, because there haven’t been many owners willing to pay, Saint Paul is consider lowering or even waving the fee.

Yes, you’re right. That means there will be plenty of places where you can play drinking games with Wolf Blitzer and hit on Mrs. McCain until 4 in the morning.

But the scene in MSP isn’t really about politics. It’s about more important things like patios, nice weather and beer.

The Twin Cities are full of beer lovers and therefore, a good brew is never far away. Sure, the hard bitten political journalists might stay with the usual low-ball of scotch, but there are plenty of spots with local microbrews and Belgian beers with easily mispronounced names on tap.

And, because it’s early fall, the weather is neither hot and mosquito-infested nor freezing. Drinking on the patio is a favored local pastime at places like The Happy Gnome (pictured). Hopefully, convention-goers won’t be taking over places like this. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll simply be joining in the fun.