Hoping to make July 4th weekend a bang not a bust, gay business owners in Ybor City have organized GaYbor Days, with appearances by TV fitness trainer Jackie Warner and American Idol stars Kimberley Locke and Frenchie Davis.
Leaders of the GaYbor District Coalition, Carrie West, Mark Bias and Steve Donahue, came up with the idea recently over a late-night drink. As a nod to Ybor and its Latin roots, they dubbed it GaYbor Days — the Charge of the Yellow Rice Brigay-ed, which begins tonight with a party at Spurs and runs through Sunday.
"There's nothing going on. Everybody's closed, but people want something to do,'' said West, the coalition president. "So we're going to make it happen.''
Donahue, co-owner of G.Bar and the Honey Pot, lined up Warner, Locke and Davis, hot names in the gay community. Other venues, such as Streetcar Charlie's and Lounge 714, planned events ranging from art shows to Ybor walking tours. Among the highlights: a drag queen and celebrity look-alike promenade down the sidewalks of Seventh Avenue starting at 6 p.m. Saturday. "The campier, the better,'' Donahue said.
Organizers hope GaYbor Days fills the void left by Tampa's PrideFest, which ended after 2002. If successful, it will likely become an annual event. Locke, who placed third in the 2003 season of American Idol, will perform Friday at the Honey Pot. Davis, who was disqualified from Idol that same year for appearing in topless photos on the Internet, will sing on Saturday at G.Bar. The party closes with a dance party Sunday night at Club Skye.