Connect Marketplace


Visit Tampa Bay invites Connect Marketplace attendees to the ultimate waterfront block party, featuring indoor and outdoor activations, interactive events, Tampa Bay cuisine and beverages, and live entertainment. Each attendee will begin at a designated starting point at 6:00pm followed by a choose-your-adventure format from 7:00 - 9:00pm. 


By streetcar:


Do as the locals do and hop aboard the free TECO Line Streetcar which drops you off right in front of Sparkman Wharf and the nearby Florida Aquarium

By Bus:

Bus Shuttle

Buses will begin conveniently shuttling from all conference hotels at 5:45 p.m. and will run continuously until 9:30 p.m.

By foot:

Walking on the Riverwalk

Head south along the Tampa Riverwalk  toward the Unlock the Block event at Sparkman Wharf and the nearby Florida Aquarium.




We know how important it is for you to be able to mingle with your industry peers. That’s why the first hour of the opening reception is dedicated to you and those in your specific market to network from 6:00 – 7:00pm.



Business Travel, RTO South


Association, Connect Florida






Travel Ability Summit, Corporate, BizBash


7:00 - 9:00PM


Connect Map


The multi-zoned celebration begins at 6 p.m. with designated starting points for each attendee. Starting at 7 p.m. choose your own adventure and visit any activation. Whether you’re grabbing a “Champa Bay” photo-op with the Lombardi Trophy or mingling with your industry peers over tequila flights, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!



Enjoy tequila flights, margarita sampling and pinata prizes at JOTORO, your friendly neighborhood taco joint that happens to have a Michelin star chef. Driven by Chef Joe Isidori, this Mexican mash-up is where hip hop meets mariachi and sequins mix with sandals. Located at the prime corner of Sparkman Wharf.

Sparkman Wharf

2. Sparkman Wharf Park

Sparkman Wharf offers an eclectic mix of amazing outdoor dining and drink options housed in hip shipping containers. The centerpiece biergarten features dozens of local beers – as you’d expect in Florida’s hub for craft brewing. The outdoor stage will host Tampa's own Latin sensation, Orquesta INFINIDAD.


3. Splitsville

We’re not called “Champa Bay” for nothing! Visit Splitsville within Sparkman Wharf for celebrity photo-ops and appearances by local Tampa Bay sports legends. Or test your skills with indoor lawn and feather bowling, ping pong, billiards, foosball, darts and shuffleboard.


4. Yacht StarShip

Aboard the Yacht StarShip you’ll find the ultimate cigar lounge on the 3rd deck featuring complimentary cigars from J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente, plus bourbon sampling provided by Dark Door Spirits. With over two decades of service, Yacht StarShip’s dining cruises have become a seaworthy staple to cruise the waterways of Tampa Bay while enjoying a premier dining experience. 

Lost Pearl

5. Lost Pearl

Climb aboard the Lost Pearl for photo opportunities with some of Tampa Bay’s most infamous pirates. During usual operation, families can join the crew of the Lost Pearl as they search for treasure in Downtown Tampa and embark on adventures which include pirate entertainment, swashbuckling activities, dolphin sightings and more.

The Florida Aquarium

6. The Florida Aquarium

Marine life, photo ops and plenty of entertainment are ready for you at The Florida Aquarium! Grab a photo with the Lombardi Trophy while you meet some of Florida’s aquatic and terrestrial animals and see how The Florida Aquarium is working to protect and restore our blue planet through conservation efforts. While you’re there, enjoy live karaoke hosted by Antwanette Chanel Roberts.

American Victory Ship

7. American Victory Ship

Take a self-guided tour aboard the American Victory Ship, one of only 4 fully operational WWII ships in the country. The American Victory Ship and Museum is a mighty beacon to veterans, active military, and its community, and transports you back nearly seven decades to when brave sailors fought the harsh seas to reach their comrades around the world.



  • What should I wear? Suggested attire is Tampa casual! The weather in August is warm, but the Unlock the Block event has both indoor and outdoor activations.
  • Is there a lost and found? Yes, lost and found will be located inside Splitsville at Sparkman Wharf.
  • Are credentials needed for this party? YES!  Each Connect attendee will be given a party credential at registration.  Each track has a different starting point so you will receive a credential based on the track for which you are registered.

  • How do I get my party credentials? At the Connect Registration you will receive the proper credential based on the track for which you are registered.  If you arrive in Tampa later and miss the registration at Tampa Convention Center – never fear!  We will have credentials available at help desks at both Sparkman Wharf and The Florida Aquarium. 

  • Will the Yacht StarShip or Lost Pearl be setting sail during the event? No, the boats will remain docked for the entirety of the opening reception.  

  • Are face masks required at the opening reception? Face masks are required if you are unvaccinated and strongly encouraged if you are fully vaccinated.

  • Is the Opening Reception wheelchair accessible? Most aspects of the Unlock the Block event are accessible including venues and activations, with the exception of the American Victory Ship. The free TECO Line Streetcar is wheelchair accessible and available for transportation to and from the event.