It's one big party inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and when the thousands of delegates aren't inside, they're exploring Tampa and the myriad of places they can choose to party.
In Ybor City Tuesday night, we were on party patrol. There was a huge event at the Honey Pot nightclub. And once the crowded convention floor cleared, delegates were ready to spread their GOP wings and get their party on.
Behind a line of protesters sits the Honey Pot, which is also the site of HomoCon 2012. It's a huge bash, put on by GoProud.
"Which is a group of LGBT Republicans," said Event Producer Bryan Farris, with Premier Events of Tampa Bay. "They're conservatives."
With names you might be surprised were in attendance, like Mary Matalin, actor Jon Voight and the controversial author and personality Ann Coulter.
"How does Ann Coulter fit into the LGBT political view?," we asked Farris. "I've never met Ann, but from what my contacts at GoProud tell me, she's a very delightful person," said Farris. "I'm really looking forward to meeting her, quite frankly."
Farris said they transformed the space into an oasis of light and sound.
"We're doing the red, white and blue outside, and pink, blue and silver inside," Farris said.
There are dancers too, which will be poised on platforms all around the dance floor.
"Modestly dressed," added Farris, laughing. "But sexy!"
There's a disco ball and all! GoProud promoted their Tampa event all over the country. The Honey Pot is expected to be filled to capacity, at 1,200 people.
"This is the must-have ticket of the week," Farris said.
Across town, the Kress and adjoining buildings got the security once-over by Capital Police from Washington, D.C. You'll recall we profiled the space a few weeks ago, when it was just a shell and plywood.
Today, there are new windows, which could easily become new street-level storefronts post-RNC.
The Kress is also rumored to become Romney's headquarters, once the party's over.
"Oh my gosh, it's amazing, knowing it's not open to the public," said Teneseia Lewis. "It's very exclusive, so I feel very honored and special to be here and be able to do this."
"Yeah! Oh yes, I wanted to get down here, but I didn't think I could get in," said Bobbi Redmann. "And then I got a job working in here."
Lewis and Redmann landed last-minute gigs serving at the Art Museum. They hope it pays off and that their Republican patrons are not "conservative" tippers, at that party.
"Let's hope so!," laughed Redmann.
Next door, at the Ritz, there were a series of concerts Tuesday night. And, we've not been able to confirm this yet, but we're hearing Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, may also throwing a huge bash there one night this week.
Still to come, before the week closes out, 80s super group Journey will be in Tampa. Kid Rock, and a number of other big names are also expected at various venues. By the way, so as not to overshadow Mitt Romney's acceptance speech, Journey is playing from 4 to 6pm Thursday.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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