Downtown Tampa showing signs of playoff fever

What's the best way to tell if your so-called "non-traditional hockey market" town is really getting behind the local team? When the elected officials and chamber of commerce-types climb aboard the bandwagon.

For weeks, we've had the always-communicative colored lights atop the Sun Trust Bank Building flashing a blue and white lightning bolt at us while merchants are putting "GO BOLTS" signage on display in their places of business. Now, there are even more and bigger festivities taking place at ground level and above in celebration of the Tampa Bay Lightning reaching the NHL Eastern Conference Finals.

First, at Curtis Hixon Park on Friday, May 13th, starting at 7:30 AM, renowned sand sculpture artists Team Sandtastic will begin constructing a "Lightning-themed" sand sculpture that will be on display throughout the rest of the playoffs.Then at 11:00 AM, Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke and Vice President of Fans & Business Development (and of course, former team captain) Dave Andreychuk will join Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for the hoisting of a commemorative banner on the side of the Tampa Municipal Office Building. This will be followed by a free lunch for fans, provided by the Lightning, across the street in Lykes Gaslight Square with Thunderbug and the Lightning Girls.