TAMPA — A music festival will take center stage during the 27th annual Guavaween, while plans to remove the event's wet-zoning and parade are still in place.
Guavaween, scheduled for Oct. 27 from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., will now be home to a festival where more than 20 bands will perform in venues throughout Ybor City.
The music comes at a price: $20 in advance and $30 the day of the nationally known event.
"It's going to be pretty eclectic," Chamber of Commerce president Tom Keating said Thursday. "We're trying to position ourselves so that we can become a live music destination."
The festival replaces one of Guavaween's most iconic features: the Mama Guava Stumble Parade. Faced with a tight budget when the city of Tampa declined to pitch in with expenses, the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce had to drop the parade. Organizers hope to somehow revive it in the future, said Guavaween Chairman Marc Hamburg.
The annual costume contest will be held at the Centro Ybor Stage at 9 p.m. Admission is free.
With the addition of the music comes the removal of the fence that had enclosed the celebration. Merchants said the fence, which had surrounded Guavaween for the past 20 years allowing it to be a paid, ticketed event, killed business. In changes announced earlier this year, the wet-zones, where revelers could drink on the streets, are also gone.
Guavaween was founded 26 years ago as a Halloween celebration for the Tampa Bay area. More than 50,000 people have been known to attend the festivities in the past. In recent years, about 20,000 have attended.
Keating said organizers are expecting some 5,000 people to attend the music festival, but the total number Guavaween attendees is unknown because of the changes.