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Timeline: A history of Guavaween

A look at the history of Guavaween: • 1985: The first Mama Guava Stumble Parade stumbles its way onto Seventh Avenue in Ybor City, with Mama Guava and Tampa Tribune columnist Steve Otto as grand marshal. The event becomes a fund-raiser for the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce and The Playmakers, a nonprofit theater group. 1987: Mayor Sandy Freedman's administration bans beer and wine sales at outdoor events on city property. Guavaween revelers buy alcohol inside buildings and stroll off on to Ybor's streets. Guavaween, Inc. is created to shift liability away from the city. 1988: The Shirelles, a Motown girl group from the 1960s, performs at the 4th annual Guavaween. Their top 10 hits include "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" and "Dedicated to the One I Love".
1988: For the first time Guavaween and Halloween fall on the same day. 1990: An estimated 120,000 people show up, watched over by 160 law enforcement officers. Police report $4,000 in property damage, 61 arrests and 88 ambulance calls. City officials say more crowd control is needed. 1991: Fences go up around the Guavaween party. The headliner band is Cheap Trick. 1992: The chamber and Playmakers part ways via a lawsuit. The theater group already had moved out of Ybor. 1993: Organizers say they are in debt and consider cancelling the next Guavaween unless admission fees can be charged. Mayor Freedman says taxpayers shouldn't have to pay to use city streets. 1994: City council, over Freedman's objection, agrees to $4 admission fee. 1996: Tampa City Council is unhappy with a band named Butthole Surfers but when a lawsuit is threatened, the band plays on. 1998: Tampa Tribune columnist, also known as Papa Guava, quits the parade saying the event "was aimed directly at the crotch." Organizers agree more family entertainment is needed. Otto is replaced with a professional wrestler, The Disciple. 2000: In an election year, the Guavaween theme harkens back to its political and satirical roots - Mama Guava for President. She does not win. 2002: The theme is the Wizard of Oz. Dorothys, Auntie Ems, monkeys, scarecrows and wicked witches, oh my. 2004: Promotion materials tout Guavaween as "Sin in the City - Guavaween City" 2005: Singers Natasha Bedingfield and Rihanna are among the performers. 2009: Organizers ban motorized floats, saying they want to return to Guavaween's roots. Some local krewes quit.

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