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.
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.
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.