Tropical Storm Isaac delayed the opening of the Republican National Convention, and prompted the removal of oversized party tents behind several Pinellas beach resorts.
"The tent company on Sunday called us and said there's too much liability, we're concerned it might blow down, and we have to remove it," said Tony Satterfield of the Alden Beach Resort.
The tent was supposed to house a Monday morning breakfast for Nebraska delegates.
Fortunately, Leroy Selmon's was the caterer and the event could move inside its restaurant at Tyrone Square Mall—after another challenge was met:
"We spent all day yesterday scrambling to find three buses," Satterfield said.
Nearly every Pinellas hotel had similar experiences, quickly making new arrangements for long-standing RNC plans. Overall, the rain delay benefited most.
"Obviously, they spent more food and beverage here than they would've and the postponement of the convention itself has kept them here on the property," the TradeWinds Keith Overton explained. "We got an extra day of "out-of-room-spent" from that so for us it's been a little bit of a revenue windfall."
The huge California contingent is staying at the TradeWinds. With nearly 700 people needing 14 buses to do anything different, staying on-property makes the most sense.
"When our staff is dealing with John Boehner and Condoleezza Rice as speakers, I can't have people stuck on a sand dune on Gulf Boulevard," said Tom Scott, who is in charge of the delegation's transportation.
Scott also made a comment portending a future problem for the business conference side of Florida's tourism industry. Recalling a planning meeting in May, Scott commented "Somebody said there's a one percent chance there could be a hurricane."
Laughing at the current situation, Scott added "With all due respect, that now has just become a 60 percent chance—because you did."
Most delegates appeared to have taken the weather wrinkle in stride.
"Normally during the convention, we really didn't have any downtime," said Wayne Papke of North Dakota. "So this really gives us our tourist time."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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