Downtown Ybor City – E Seventh Avenue and N 14th Street, Tampa FL 33605
- The annual night of costumed revelry has a superhero theme this year, live music by national and local artists on multiple stages, the “Mama Guava Stumble” parade and costume contests. And good news: Floats are returning after a two-year absence, so count on adding more beads to add to your costume.Expect outrageously creative costumes, lewd and bawdy behavior and massive crowds along Ybor’s main drag, Seventh Avenue.Here are 25 reasons why we love it.
And here are some of the highlights of this year’s event:
–The motorized-parade will have at least 20 krewes expected to attend, up from less than a dozen last year.
–Instead of the imported carnival-type food vendors, local Ybor vendors will be setting up food stations, so you can get Al’s Finger Lickin’ BBQ on the street and JJ’s Cafe will have a hamburger and hot dog booth, among others.
–The costume contest has more cash awards to spread around. Instead of one top prize, ther’s a $1,000 prize for first place, $750 for second, $500 for third. A special “best in theme” award of $250 goes to the costume that best reflects the Superheroes theme this year.
— Live entertainment will perform on three stages from one end of La Setima to the other: Q 105 west-end stage, Centro Ybor food court and stage, and the Play 98.7 east-end stage
— The Mama Guava Stumble, a loose version of a parade that may or may not have clearly defined entries. The parade floats are back, so krewes will be too, throwing lots of beads. But there’s also people on bikes, Rollerblades, skateboards and even wagons meandering down the street. Join the fun if you feel creative.
–Costumes are elaborate. There’s no such thing as over the top here.
And if you’re going, you might want to read through these insider tips:
— If you have an elaborate costume, expect to be stopped every 5 feet for photos. Be sure you have an entourage with at least one person willing to explain (a) what you are and (b) how you did it.
— If you don’t have a costume, at least get into the spirit and throw something glowing around your neck. No one likes an underdressed reveler.
— Don’t stare at the freaks, the exhibitionists or the severely limit-challenged. Instead, admire their audacity and the fact that they have managed not to get arrested for indecent exposure.
— If you know of someone who has access to a balcony, or if you can bribe your way onto one, it’s an awesome sight below of swirling, colorful humanity. Try to experience it at least once.
— With an anticipated crowd of 50,000 people, you should expect to be jostled. If you can’t handle crowds, try hanging out on one of the side streets or at each end of Seventh. The Dirty Shame on the east end has a great window for viewing the spectacle. And the James Joyce Pub right above the Green Iguana has those wonderful windows that open out over the avenue, so if you can snag a seat there, you’re golden. (both are inside the Guavaween fence, so you’ll still have to pay to get in.)
— You’ll want proof of how crazy people really can be with their costumes, so be sure to learn how to work that camera phone before you go (we’re looking at you, grandma who stumbled into this at the request of out-of-town visitors).
And now a word about parking: Previous incarnations of the event have had shuttles to ferry partiers into Ybor. That’s not the case this year, so if the lots are full in Ybor, consider parking at the Fort Brooks or Tampa Port Authority garages and riding the TECO Line Streetcar. The streetcar hours are from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Saturday. A temporary end of the line will be in front of the trolley car barn in Ybor from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Exact change is required to purchase fare cards onboard the streetcar. Save time and purchase your $5 unlimited ride pass in advance. Call HART’s information line at (813) 254-4278, or visit www.tecolinestreetcar.org.
The ’90s rockers will headline the day’s entertainment. Also with Scilter and Coo Coo Ca Choo.
- Price: $12.
- Categories: Festivals, Halloween, Holiday, Parties
- Phone: (813) 242-4828
- More in this neighborhood: Ybor City
St. Petersburg Times