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Can Guavaween survive without a parade? | News

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Can Guavaween survive without a parade?

TAMPA, Florida -- A big change is coming to one of Ybor City's signature events.

This year's Guavaween celebration will not include a parade.

Some of the area's businesses support that decision, others don't, but many wonder if Guavaween can survive without a parade?

Photo Gallery: Guavaween 2011 pictures

"I am disappointed.  I would like to bring the parade back," said Ybor City Chamber of Commerce President Tom Keating.

Keating claims they can't afford it. Attendance for the parade had slimmed down in recent years to around 20,000, much less than the 50,000 or so Keating says they experienced at its peak.

That's part of the reason the plan this year was to take down the fence near 7th Avenue and no longer charge $17 at the gate.

To offset that cost, they asked the city of Tampa to cover $45,000, but the city said no.

Keating says the event will go on, it will just look different.

"Guavaween is about people coming down to the historic district in costume.  The parade has always been a minimal part of that," he said.

The hope is to turn Guavaween into more of a musical festival, with a costume contest and a pub crawl. But there won't be a wet zone, where people can walk down the street with alcohol in their hands.

"It's not good," said Justin Akin, manager of Hot Wax glass store near Centro Ybor.

Akin says Guavaween is one of their biggest nights of the year.

"That's definitely going to hurt us," he said of losing the parade.

Even the chamber concedes some businesses, though, are happy to see it go.

Laura Medina can understand why. She says she used to attend, but the crowd changed over the years.

"There was some pretty perverse stuff going on down 7th and you want to stay away after that," Medina explained.

The chamber says the decision to take down the fence and stop charging people to get in came after complaints from business owners.

They don't plan to make changes to the Gasparilla Night Parade. 










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