The true origin of Guavaween is certainly not as interesting as the fake one, so let's begin with the birth of Mama Guava — or really, her conception, which occurred after a puzzling union between Jose Gaspar and a scrub palmetto in a steamy Ybor City grotto, where the roots of the palm merged with those of a guava. Shortly after, Mama Guava burst forth from the subterranean underground on a wave of guava paste. Abandoned by her father (because who wants to admit to screwing a bush?), she spent most of her childhood at a convent known as Our Lady of Perpetual Fruit, eventually hitting the road to spread her guava loving all over the place, reducing strong men to fools obsessed with getting just one more taste of her fruity goodness. Followers of this legendary lady convene to celebrate the day she returns to her Ybor City birth place on the holiday named in her honor: Guavaween.
The real story goes something like this:
In 1985, three Ybor-based organizations — the Chamber of Commerce, artist collective El Sama and Playmakers theater group — decided to abandon their respective Halloween party plans to unite in a single fundraising celebration, with the name "Guavaween" surfacing during a planning meeting. (Note: The name comes from "The Big Guava," Tampa's unofficial nickname, which it apparently acquired after the failed attempts of local pioneer Gavino Gutiérrez to cultivate the tropical fruit commercially.) Mama Guava and her mythology were created by a Playmakers member, and the original Mama Guava Stumble Parade featured groups in costume satirizing Bay area life. Twenty years later, Guavaween is a colossal celebration complete with inflated admission, a full-scale bead-flinging parade, and hundreds of thousands of costumed revelers partying in the streets. It's also the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce's most lucrative yearly fundraiser.
The 2005 shenanigans occur Sat., Oct. 29. The schedule is as follows:
GUAVAWEEN FAMILY FUNFEST
10 a.m.-3 p.m. $3 admission per personThis family-friendly daytime event attracts an estimated 20,000 people. Highlights include:
10 a.m. Pumpkin giveaway for the first 250 costumed children on the MORE-TV32 Stage in Centennial Park (Eighth Avenue between 18th and 19th streets)
10:30 a.m. Little Miss Mama & Papa Guava Contest on the Mix 100.7 Stage in Centro Ybor (Eighth Avenue between 15th and 17th streets)
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Mix 100.7's Safe Trick-or-Treat; participants pick up a bag and directions at the Mix 100.7 Booth in Centro Ybor
Noon-2 p.m. Silly Scavenger Hunt; participants pick up a bag and directions at the MORE-TV32 Booth in Centennial Park.
Noon-4 p.m. Create a Creature Workshops at Creatures Delight (1901 N. 15th St.)
2-2:30 p.m. Spooky Story Time; presented by Matt Whitlock, author of the children's book Punk'n Patch (Ybor City State Museum, 1818 E. Ninth Ave.)
3 p.m. Children's Costume Parade and Contest on the MORE-TV32 Stage
3-6 p.m. Youth for Christ Tampa Bay Area Outreach Concert featuring Among the Thirsty, Shattered Silence and Three Fold Chord on the Mix 100.7 Stage
4 p.m. Guava Love It! Cooking Contest on the Mix 100.7 Stage
GUAVAWEEN EVENING ENTERTAINMENT
5 p.m.-3 a.m. $12 admission per person
6:30 p.m. Mama Guava Stumble Parade
The parade, which is by admission only, begins at Seventh Avenue and 20th Street, heads west on Seventh to 14th Street (aka Republica de Cuba), turns north on 14th Street and heads toward Ninth Avenue, and turns east on Ninth Avenue to 19th Street, where it disbands.
98 Rock Stage (In order of appearance)
Seventh Ave. between 14th and 15th streets
10 Second Drop
Smile Empty Soul
93.3 FLZ Stage
Centro Ybor on Eighth Ave. between 15th and 17th streets
Basic Rock Outfit
Features Costume Contest at 9 p.m. with a $2,000 cash prize
95.7 The Beat Stage
Gospel Music from 6 to 8 p.m.
Parking: Shuttles depart from the Florida State Fairgrounds, Raymond James Stadium, USF Sun Dome and Wagon Wheel Flea Market beginning at 5 p.m. ($20 round-trip ride includes admission; $10 round-trip shuttle ride only). Attendees can also hop the TECO Line Streetcar System with parking available at Tampa Port Authority (1101 Channelside Drive). Standard Streetcar fees apply: $4 single-day unlimited ride card/$2 one-way fare; children 4 and younger ride for free. The final shuttle bus and streetcar leave Ybor City at 4 a.m. (3 a.m. after the time change).
For a complete schedule of other events and performances occurring on the various stages, visit www.cc-events.org/gw.