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Sunday, Sep 24, 2017
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Guavaween to feature music festival, costume contest

YBOR CITY - This year's Guavaween will be a more family friendly affair, with no wet zoning, no fence and no Mama Guava Stumble Parade. Instead, this year's Oct. 27 celebration along Ybor City's Seventh Avenue will feature an indoor music festival and the annual costume contest. Guests can access Ybor's historic district without a gate charge, but those attending the music festival must pay $20 for an armband. On the day of the event, the armband will cost $30. The theme for the 27th edition of Guavaween is "The Many Shades of Ybor."
Guavaween runs from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. The costume contest will be held at 9 p.m. in the Centro Ybor complex. The music festival features more than 20 acts and will be held at several live music venues, according to a release from the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce. No more details about the acts or venues were immediately available. In prior years the chamber fenced off Guavaween activities and collected gate charges from parade- and party-goers. Responding to merchants' complaints, chamber officials agreed to remove the fences and gate, but that meant giving up anticipated revenues for what is a major annual fundraiser. The new vision is to create a music festival similar to the annual Tropical Heatwave event in Ybor at which bands perform at private venues. In previous years the event has attracted headliners such as Cheap Trick, Natasha Bedingfield and Rihanna. Guavaween began in 1985 as a free-spirited mix of political satire and Halloween silliness. Tampa Tribune columnist Steve Otto was the parade's first grand marshal, apparently tapped for the job after branding Tampa "The Big Guava." The event highlighted Ybor, which then was struggling to reinvent itself as an entertainment district. Through the years Guavaween has earned a reputation as a high-octane, ghoulish and sometimes raunchy party that draws thousands of revelers to Ybor.

Information from Tribune archives was used in this report. jpoltilove@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7691

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