Best Of 2013

Best move toward improvement: Guavaween

Mama Guava (Kathi Grau) emcees the costume contest at the Centro Ybor Courtyard.

Last year, the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce took the first big steps toward transforming the district’s annual pre-Halloween extravaganza from epic shit show to a more music-and-community-oriented event, removing the cage-like perimeter fence and wet zone altogether in favor of opening up the streets and drawing revelers into Ybor bars, venues and businesses. Even though only 15,000 people paid the fence-free admission versus the hundreds of thousands who showed up in years past, parking was improved, the lack of alcohol vendors on every block was a blessed relief, and Guavaween regulars were still plenty ready to enjoy some raunchy revelry. This year, the Chamber continues to tweak Guavaween by putting a stronger focus on its family-friendly daytime street fair and bringing back the Mama Guava Parade to usher in the night.