As the legend goes, Gavino Gutierrez, a Spanish food broker, came in search of guava trees he could harvest. Unfortunately for him, land prices were on the rise, and the climate was not correct to grow the guava anyway. But the hunt for guavas has always been remembered as the reason the Tampa area was founded.
Years later, Steve Otto, a local newspaper columnist, reasoned that as New York is known as “The Big Apple,” Tampa should be called “The Big Guava.” The nickname stuck. When Ybor City’s Chamber of Commerce began planning an annual fundraiser, the nickname came to mind. Because of the time of year, than name transformed into “Guavaween,” and the holiday was born.
This year, many of the local restaurants, clubs, and pubs will be offering food and beverage specials throughout the day and night. Daytime activities include a family-friendly “Little Monsters’ Pumpkin Patch” in Centro Ybor, and a “Big Monsters’ Bed Race” on Seventh Avenue.
Evening and nighttime activities are adult-oriented. A “WitchCraft” Beer Festival will be held. From 7:00 to 8:45 PM, in the Centro Ybor courtyard, a stage will be set for a concert. The featured band, Scilter, has appeared before on the Guavaween stage. They are a well-received local band.
Starting at 9:00 PM, the original Mama Guava, Kathi Grau, will host the annual costume contest. Contestants from near and far will be there to compete for the $1000 first prize. The theme this year is “Monster Mash.” It is intended to celebrate monsters from the classic movies. Gift certificates will be awarded for runners-up and for the best group costumes.
All outdoor activities are wheelchair accessible, and most businesses in the area have wider doorways and curb cuts to allow access.
For information on the Guavaween Costume Contest and other Halloween Events in Ybor City, contact the Chamber’s Visitor Information Center at 813-241-8838.