Guavaween 2014 contained

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click to enlarge The dance floor at the Cuban Club was filled with Guavaweeners dancing to the jams of a DJ. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
The dance floor at the Cuban Club was filled with Guavaweeners dancing to the jams of a DJ.


In its latest iteration, the organizers of the "New and Official" Guavaween (this year called Voodoo Carnival) continued to refine the annual Halloween celebration by hosting it in the enclosed walls and courtyard of the Cuban Club. In the cool weather Saturday night, crowds of people jammed the club and were entertained by several bands, sideshow acts, and the ever-popular costume contest hosted by Mama Guava. The celebration continues to look for the right balance. Over the past several years there have been differing opinions about whether the event should be fenced in around Seventh Avenue, if there should be a parade (and who will sponsor it), and what parts of it should be family-friendly. This year's event harkens back to the days of the Artists and Writers Ball of the 1970s, which was also held around Halloween in the Cuban Club. 

click to enlarge The courtyard and building of the Cuban Club hosted partygoers for Guavaween's Voodoo Carnival. General admission was $30 (ages 21 and up) for entertainment with a cash bar, and food also available. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
The courtyard and building of the Cuban Club hosted partygoers for Guavaween's Voodoo Carnival. General admission was $30 (ages 21 and up) for entertainment with a cash bar, and food also available.

click to enlarge Chris Geyer dances with fire in the courtyard of the Cuban Club as part of the Guavaween celebration. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Chris Geyer dances with fire in the courtyard of the Cuban Club as part of the Guavaween celebration.

click to enlarge DJ Ich pumped  jams all night on the main stage in the  courtyard - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
DJ Ich pumped jams all night on the main stage in the courtyard
click to enlarge Hundreds of people in their Halloween best prepare to vote on the finalists for the costume contest. Winners of each category got $100 and the best costume won $1000 - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Hundreds of people in their Halloween best prepare to vote on the finalists for the costume contest. Winners of each category got $100 and the best costume won $1000
click to enlarge Mama Guava emcees the ghoulish costume contest. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Mama Guava emcees the ghoulish costume contest.

Some seeking annual Halloween fun on Seventh Avenue, where the celebration historically occurred, were confused by the event's new location even though there were several signs directing partiers to the Cuban Club. They came sporting cameras and costumes hoping to catch a glimpse and get pictures of the annual freak fest. But they weren't completely disappointed. The change of location for the main event didn't stop the monsters, mutants, and calaca costumes around the clubs and on the sidewalks along this main drag of Ybor City. 

click to enlarge Signs around Ybor city directed participants to the "new and official"  Guavaween celebration. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Signs around Ybor city directed participants to the "new and official" Guavaween celebration.
click to enlarge Costume-clad revelers inside of Gaspar's, which did not charge a cover, partied late into the night - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Costume-clad revelers inside of Gaspar's, which did not charge a cover, partied late into the night

In a separate event on the same night in the same neighborhood, Fantasma Music Fest (aka Desperados Music Fest depending on what publicity you read) sponsored by the Ybor  Merchants  Association, took place in three separate venues. Crowbar, Market on Seventh, and New World Brewery each hosted four different bands between 9 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. Even though the talent was very good, the shows were not well attended. It's hard to say whether the cost of the wrist band (all venues $10 for ages 18 and older) or confusion over what is "official" Guavaween contributed to the low attendance. The music festival, part of Fantasma Fest , encompasses nearly two weeks of events in October in Ybor.


click to enlarge The Sh Booms, a great-sounding horn band, entertains at the relatively empty Crowbar around midnight on Saturday. - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
The Sh Booms, a great-sounding horn band, entertains at the relatively empty Crowbar around midnight on Saturday.
click to enlarge Funny Bunny plays at the New World Brewery as part of the Fantasma Music Fest - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Funny Bunny plays at the New World Brewery as part of the Fantasma Music Fest

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