Free booze and eats for 20,000 and so crowded that Peter and Chris Newton of yorkville could barely find other members of the Illinois Delegation. But these Tampanians dressed as pirates would do.
"We have really been circulating and talking with people from all different states who have come here like we have to support this nomination," said Peter Newton.
"It's just really comforting to come together for a single cause," Chris Newton said.
Organizers hoped this final pre-convention party would energize delegates and other Romney-Ryan supporters. National Republican Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made an appearance and talked exclusively with ABC-7 about his still high hopes for the convention.
"We'll get the business done, we'll move on with the convention as planned and we'll elect Mitt Romney, save America and that's the plan," said National Republican Chairman Reince Priebus.
Most of the Illinois delegation arrived Sunday afternoon. They came mentally prepared to hunker down in their hotel on Clearwater Beach's Sand Key, west of Tampa on the Gulf Coast that locals say is prone to flooding during heavy rain:
"We're from Chicago," said Illinois GOP Party Chairman Pat Brady. "A little rain's not going to hurt us, a little wind, no problem. Of all the delegations, Illinois is best able to handle it."
"I think it's going to be pretty intense and hopefully it won't be life-threatening for folks, so I'm concerned about folks here, but most importantly wherever the eye of the hurricane is," said State Representative Tom Cross.
The Illinois Delegation plans to spend all of Monday in their hotel on Clearwater Beach. It's the safest place to be.