Visit Ybor City as the factory town once was.The Ybor City Museum Society is celebrating the restoration of four historic casitas with a 1904-theme street festival. Performers, artisans, historians and vendors in period garb lend verisimilitude to the affair, which also features interactive activities, a silent auction and cuisine authentic to the city's immigrants.
Re-Live It! — Ybor City 1904 — stretches along 19th Street and Ninth Avenue, through Centennial Park and the Ybor City State Museum, taking place from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 26.
Tickets, which include admission to the museum and its new casitas, cost $30 and $50 and benefit the museum society, while only attending the street festivities is free.
Established in 1982, the Ybor City Museum Society has worked to support programs at the restored Centro Espanol Club, a 2,000-square-foot building housing small-scale exhibits on the cigar industry, the city's social clubs and theater in the grand old days of Ybor.
The society's latest expansion and preservation efforts have been the moving of its five casitas (little shotgun-style cigar workers' houses) onto property adjacent to the museum. The first one restored has served as a museum store and temporary exhibition space. The other four now recreate a historic streetscape and are to be leased as retail space to compatible businesses.
The museum's exhibits primarily feature collections of artifacts and photographs — many never before exhibited or studied — yielding vital info about the people, trades, folkways and lifestyles of Ybor City from its founding to the present day. A high-priority initiative of the Museum staff is the cataloguing and preservation of objects in these collections, with the goals of exhibiting them and making them available for scholarly study.
Re-Live It! is a great opportunity to come see a sliver of old Ybor, puff on a hand-rolled cigar and find out a bit about how this place, merely a village when Spanish-born Vicente Martinez Ybor arrived in 1886, grew to be an established center for cigar manufacturing.
For more info, visit www.ybormuseum.org.
Ybor City Museum State Park, 1818 E. Ninth Ave., Ybor City. 813-247-6323.