Monday, November 2, 2009

Guavaween Weekend - 2009

The weekend started Friday with a victorious win from the USF Bulls over West Virginia...met up with a bunch of Alumni in Lot 4(we parked at the Westshore Marriott, and took a cab to the stadium...they offered the shuttle, but it seemed the Westshore Marriott was the home base for all the WVU fans, so we cabbed it it there) was great seeing so many people, the game was excellent! Leaving the stadium we ran into the Marriott Shuttle on Dale Mabry, and just decided to get a ride back in the shuttle...with ALL THE WVU fans! Last stop was the Green Iguana Westshore for some live music, and celebrations with other Bulls fans.

Saturday eve was Guavaween..Tampa's annual Halloween party in the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District. This year they raised the fee, $17, and also brought back the original Mama Guava Stumble, with NO motorized vehicles in the parade down 7th Avenue. This ensured there would be no blockades along the parade route, and took us back to the traditional Guavaween, which is a fund raiser for the Ybor Chamber of Commerce. It was nice to see the stumble brought back, lots of interesting characters..and at the end you could just walk about in the streets and join them. One thing I also noticed was there was only one stage set up this year, with not the usual National Bands that most people would be aware of playing for the crowds. By the way, the term "Guavaween" was coined by the city of Tampa having once been the "Guava' capital of the country, in addition to Cigar capitol of the world. NYC was known as the 'big apple' so some artsy and new paper columnists people labeled Tampa as the 'big guava'. Guavaween started back in the early 80s amongst the artist, musicians, theater folk wanting to do something similar to Fantasy Fest in Key West--out came Guavaween.

Now we all had an EXCELLENT time this year, and our costumes creatively designed via the Goodwill were a hit, with lots of people wanting pics of me and my two buddies. But there were so far fewer people in Ybor City for this event this year...a few suggestions for the future of this fun party:
>Charge on even fee of $10--especially in bad economic times, and all the other Halloween parties in the area, give a better incentive to attract the people.
>Dont start charging until 6pm--those that arrive earlier will eat, shop, browse the area, and incent the local businesses to stay open.
>Dont fence in such a large area--6th ave to 8th ave, and 14th to 19th Streets should do fine. Again, keeping many of the businesses open in the area.
>Provide wristbands for those that paid a fee--this will only allow those 21 and older to partake in the festivities, allow access to the bars/clubs/events.
>Book MORE ENTERTAINMENT--where were the widely known national acts that have always come by? Where were the carnival rides and attractions? Its Halloween, provide some Haunted Houses, specialized Guavaween attractions.

With the 12-15000 that were there this year(compared to 45000 last year, and more in previous years), about 90% were costumed, and all i talked to had a great time..the people watching, the creative costumes, the laughs and good times that can only be had like this on Halloween was worth it all.

Sunday we visited Nickos Diner on Florida Avenue Seminole Heights area. Great Diner that reminded me of growing up on Long Island...we sat at the counter, had the typical omelet breakfast with crispy hash browns, fun, friendly service, a neighborhood, locals feel, and good food!!

Short week for me this week...heading to Andrews, NC for a long weekend at my buddies Mountain Retreat, Hawkesdene.

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