28th annual Guavaween organizers aim for a slightly tamer event this year

1:49 PM, Oct 26, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
Eric Glasser Video Stories
More Eric Glasser Stories

Ybor City, FL -- The Saturday before Halloweeen is just days away, and that of course means Guavaween will be taking place in Ybor City.

But you can expect to see some changes.

Anyone who's lived here long enough knows in its 28 years, the Guavaween celebration had essentially gotten out of hand.

So this year they think they've reached a Goldilocks compromise. Not too hot, not too cold, but an event they hope will be just right.

Guavaween had become a victim of its own success over the years. So much drinking that the fights and violence overshadowed the fun for lots of folks.

So for a while, organizers considered going the complete opposite direction this year.

"We're really getting to be more of a community event," said Ybor Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Keating.

But the Ybor chamber quickly got backlash from area workers and businesses who felt trying to turn Guavaween into anything but an adult event would be a big a big mistake.

Will Baker, who works nearby, thinks people wouldn't travel to Ybor from all over for a kid-friendly event.

"You'd want drinking. You'd want some sort of debauchery. I'm not sure that a family even gets things done," said Baker. "You know, if not, why not go to Disneyland?"

Ultimately, organizers agreed Guavaween should take place at night, but there will be some big changes this Saturday versus years past.

In keeping with tradition, there will be a live rock band and of course, the world famous costume contest.

The parade, however, is still a goner. And the fenced-in area that allowed for open-container drinking will be gone too.

There are still some businesses in the Ybor area determined to make this a little more of a family event. The Crow Bar, for example, will be holding a pumpkin carving contest.

There's a bed race for the kids too.

But organizers agree that by 7:00 p.m. it's probably best for the kiddos to head home.

"Some of the people come down in some pretty suggestive costumes and stuff," said Keating, "so it's time for the kids to go home and the adults to come out at seven o'clock."

Still, some parents, like Joanne Cobb think it's a mistake.

Cobb thinks this was Ybor's chance to expand its client base to include families.

"I feel like they don't do enough stuff that's family friendly and that's why Ybor is starting to be such a desolate area because people only think of it as a bar and tattoo area as opposed to a family area," said Cobb.

Organizers estimate there'll be about 15,000 revelers at this year's Guavaween.

Admission, for the first time in the event's history, is free.

Click here for more information

Most Watched Videos