Mama Guava for president!
She's representing the one-party system, and that party is big enough to embrace everyone - at least for one night.
By BABITA PERSAUD
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000
TAMPA -- We're here with a patriotically dressed Mama Guava, who's telling us why she is a far better candidate for president than Al Gore or George W. Bush.
[Times photo: Chris Schneider]
Madame of Guavaween and presidential candidate Mama Guava, at Ninth Avenue and Avenida Republica de Cuba in Ybor City, gets in the spirit of the season. This year the guavas turned red, white and blue, she says.
What's your platform, Mama Guava?
With flashes of red, white and blue beaming from her hat, cape and earrings, she kicks up her leg and points to her glitter-coated heels. "My platform," she says, "is about 3 inches."
What will you do if you win?
"Reverse the week!" she shoots back, with a wink. "Work on Saturday and Sunday. Monday through Friday, we are going to enjoy!"
Mama Guava is a born leader -- of fun. Since Guavaween's inception 16 years ago, she has led the satirical Mama Guava Stumble Parade down Ybor City's Seventh Avenue, first on an elephant named Rogue (until the trainer decided too many people were trying to touch Rogue), then alongside two polar bears (really men in costume).
Saturday, she will again demonstrate leadership ability as the Madame of Guavaween, Ybor City's annual Halloween bash and chamber fundraiser.
This year's theme: Mama Guava for president!
||Mama Guava for president!
She's representing the one-party system, and that party is big enough to embrace everyone -- at least for one night.
A musical mixed bag -- featuring Destiny's Child, Godsmack, Foghat and Barrio Boyzz -- will be the soundtrack for Ybor's Halloween bash.
Ghosts of Guavaweens past
Oct. 26, 1985: For the first time, "Guavaween" appears in the name of Ybor City's Halloween street fest.
A whole day of activities is planned for Guavaween 2000: Family fun -- bring the kids -- during the daytime; adult fun -- leave kids at home -- after 4 p.m. (see below for details)
"If I can take the bore out of Ybor, I can take the bore out of Gore," says Mama Guava.
But we wanted more than sound bites.
Who exactly is this Mama Guava? What does she do the other 364 days of the year?
A master at spin control, she has kept her true identity under wraps.
But in an election-year spirit of investigative reporting, we discovered Mama is also a drama teacher at a private high school in Tampa. She is married to a concert violinist and has three grown kids. In addition to her theatrical abilities, she is proficient with the glue gun, piecing together her own outfit of spangles.
So, Mama Guava, have any vices?
"Of course I do," she says, before reverting to true politician style and quietly slipping away.
Family FunFest, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Booths and stages set up near and along Seventh Avenue feature spooky story time and arts and crafts, including pumpkin decorating and making your own bug house, plus amusement rides and interactive sports exhibits. A children's costume parade and contest starts at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street at 3 p.m. Centennial Park on Eighth Avenue will have a scavenger hunt between 1 and 3. Trick or treat bags are available at the Radio Disney booth at Centro Ybor between noon and 2. Kids can pick up treats at some booths and Ybor shops.
Cost: $2. Children in costumes are free.
Shuttles: Available from the Florida State Fairgrounds beginning at 11 a.m. Round-trip is $3 for adults and free for children before 4 p.m. Parking is available at city's parking garage on Fifth Avenue, between 15th and 16th streets, $1 for first three hours.
Night of Costumed Revelry, starts at 4 p.m.
Oh, what clever costumes will the masses dream up this year? How rude will they get?
The Mama Guava Stumble parade begins at Seventh Avenue and 20th Street at 6:30 p.m. (see map).
Creative types jet on over to the stage at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street (Pleasuredome parking lot) for Features Costumes Contest at 9. First place, $1,000. Past winners include the headless couple in wedding attire (with headless minister), the giant life boat and the sumo drill team.
The Guava Love It! cooking contest is on the stage at Ninth Avenue between 13th and 14th streets at 4. Creative, edible guava recipes will be judged. First place, $250.
Cost: Tickets are $10, available through Guavaween organizer CC Event Productions. Web site: http://www.cc-events.org. Call: (813) 621-7121. Tickets also available through Features Costumes locations: 3015 W Barcelona in Tampa, (813) 835-0200; or 6585 Haines Road in St. Petersburg, (727) 522-0551.
Shuttles: $13 buys a round trip and Guavaween admission; $6 for round trip only. Last shuttle departs from Ybor City at 3 a.m.
Florida State Fairgrounds, Orient Road entrance. Service begins at 11 a.m.
Gandy Boulevard and Manhattan Avenue, less than 1 mile west of Crosstown Expressway's Gandy exit. Service begins at 4 p.m.
Tampa Bay Center, Himes Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in Tampa. Service begins at 4 p.m.
Tampa Port Authority, Channelside Drive, near Ice Palace. Service begins at 4 p.m.
USF Sun Dome. USF Tampa campus, 4202 E Fowler Ave. Service begins at 4 p.m.
Guavaween Hotline: (813) 242-4828.
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