Ghosts, goblins and Mama Guava

Many years ago, the mysterious Mama Guava traveled to Florida with one mission — to take the bore out of Ybor.

At least, that’s how the legend of the city’s annual Guavaween celebration goes.

On Saturday, Mama Guava and her crew will liven up Ybor City with music and costumes, enticing people to join the festival’s “I See a Party in Your Future” theme.

The music masquerade features 17 bands, said Teri Cox Hickey, president of CC Events Production, which has organized the event for the past 15 years.

“We have a very strong line up this year,” she said.

Puddle of Mudd — an alternative rock band — is headlining.

“It’s a national headliner band that could sell tickets at an arena or somewhere else for $40 to $100,” Hickey said. Guavaween costs only $15.

Other major bands performing are Basic Rock Outfit, Big Daddy Kane and MC Lyte. Two of the three stages are sponsored by local radio stations 98 Rock and 95.7 The Beat.

Basic Rock Outfit has played at the event for five years and will be playing on the Budweiser 98 Rock stage this year.

“There is always a top-notch show on every stage,” said Jeremy Thomas, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. “The sound systems for all the stages are really amazing.”

The music will play an hour and a half longer than last year, starting at 5 p.m. and ending at 12:30 a.m.

The adult party starts after the Kia Motors Guavaween Family Funfest — a daytime celebration that features children’s activities — ends at 3 p.m.

Anyone can enter the Mama Guava Stumble Parade by completing the entry form on the event’s Web site. The parade begins at 8 p.m. at 7th Avenue and 20th Street, and the first place prize is $1,000. Entrants usually construct floats or march in groups and are encouraged to “reflect a sense of humor, sarcasm and mockery,” according to the Web site. Only entries related to the theme will be judged. The grand prize goes to the most original.

Attendees can also participate in a costume contest. Event staff will select entrants from the street, and the crowd will determine the winner, who will receive a $2,000 grand prize.

No costume choice is more outstanding than another, Joseph Stokes from Features Costumes said. Features Costumes has sponsored the event for years.

“As far as the most popular costume goes, it really depends on the big blockbuster of the year. This year, it’s probably The Dark Knight,” said J.B. Mason, a sales representative from Features Costumes.

This year, shuttles will run from three Tampa locations — including the USF Sun Dome parking lots — to the event. A round-trip shuttle ticket costs $10.

“The new shuttle bus will help people to be safe and have fun,” said Morgan Williams, CC Events creative director.

The last shuttle departs from Ybor at 4 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the event Web site,, for $15 plus a $2 service charge, or for $10: from Features Costumes. Features Costumes is located at 3015 W. Barcelona Tampa.