Read the Summer 2016 issue of Ybor Legend quarterly newsletter.

Military Development Company SOFWERX Takes CNN on Tour of Ybor City Headquarters

TAMPA, Fla - Sep. 19, 2016

SOFWERX is a high tech military development command based out of an old tattoo parlor in Ybor City.  In this special report, CNN was granted access into the facility where students, professors and military personnel help the US Military by developing new battlefield technology.

Click here to view CNN's report.

Ybor City Development Corporation Completes Baseline Assessment, Preparing for Historic District's Population Boom

TAMPA, Fla - Aug. 30, 2016

In May, the Ybor City Development Corporation (YCDC), a division of the City of Tampa's Economic & Urban Development Department, launched an assessment of the district, gathering feedback from various stakeholder groups. The assessment included in-depth

interviews with YCDC board members, secondary data mining, as well as a survey of Ybor City residents and employees. The assessment coincides with a proliferation of residential and commercial developments underway.

Click here to read more.

John Cena on Set in Ybor City for National PSA Commercial

TAMPA, FL - June 28th, 2016

Professional wrestler and actor John Cena was on set in Ybor City yesterday filming a national public service announcement (PSA) said to be produced for the National Ad Council promoting diversity and inclusion.

Ybor City was like a bustling Hollywood film set yesterday on 7th Avenue near Centro Ybor with dozens of extras representing true diversity and film crew from New York, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay.

Click here to read more.

Florida Cane Distillery Moves to Ybor City

TAMPA, FL - June 17th, 2016

Florida Cane Distillery was founded by the entrepreneurial team of Lee Nelson and Pat O'Brien who are capitalizing on the made in Tampa movement by making vodka.

Brenda Thrower attended the grand opening celebration of the duo's distillery and filed this report for Spotlight Tampa, which airs on City of Tampa TV cable channels (Brighthouse 640 and Frontier 15).  Click here to watch.

Monthly Lectora Tuesday Series Continues With This Months Topic: Talking Tech

TAMPA, FL - May 17th, 2016

Visionaries and leaders from all across Tampa Bay will meet once again on June 14th for a monthly discussion over coffee and pastries held every second Tuesday at Stone Chef Events & Catering in Ybor City. 

This month's topic is Talking Tech and will feature reporter Adam Winer, Tampa Innovation Alliance Executive Director Mark Sharpe, and District 1 County Commissioner Sandy Murman. Read full press release.

Historic Ybor City Business Owners Hold Firefighter Appreciation Event

TAMPA, FL - May 17th, 2016

Businesses in Historic Ybor City will hold a firefighter appreciation event to recognize the firefighters from Tampa Fire Rescue and the pilots from the Tampa Police Department whose successful efforts contained a fire that destroyed the Amphitheater Club April 6.

Jason Fernandez, whose Historic Hospitality company owns all or a portion of four restaurants all located on 7th Avenue in Ybor City, decided to gather support among other businesses in Ybor City to recognize the firefighters who fought the blaze.
“Ybor City as a community felt very strongly about saying ‘thank you,’” Fernandez said.
Read full press release.

Florida Cane announces grand opening for new facility - May 9th, 2016

Quietly open since the beginning of April, Florida Cane Distillery has revealed the grand opening of its Ybor City headquarters as 3 to 5 p.m. Friday.

The relocation of Florida Cane, whose move from an industrial park in East Hillsborough to Ybor's El Encanto Building was announced in January, was prompted by updates to craft distillery zoning requirements in Tampa. The nearly 18-month process involved transferring federal and state permits, renovating the historic interior of Florida Cane's new home and installing new equipment. Read full press release.

Startup Weekend Returns to Tampa with a Toast to the Local Beverage Scene
TAMPA, FL - May 3rd, 2016

Startup Weekend Tampa Bay to host their 13th event in the community and this time they are seeking entrepreneurs in the beverage industry. The event aims to merge the top talent of Tampa’s strong beverage community with the ambition of the newcomers to the scene. The event will be hosted by the Entrepreneur Collaborative Center of Ybor with support from Cigar City Brewing. Read full press release.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office opens history center in Ybor City – Thursday, May 05, 2016
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office cut the ribbon on its history center Thursday. A team of retired and current deputies transformed an old home on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 19th Street in Ybor City into the history center. It displays 170 years of history since the department was founded in 1845. Read more from

Ybor City on the Today Show

Ybor City cigar shop, jazz club back in business after Amphitheatre fire
– April 14, 2016 Before the club next door burned and water flooded their Ybor City cigar shop, the Ogando family was already dealing with a far greater tragedy. Marya Ogando, a co-owner of Nicahabana Cigars on Seventh Avenue, died of cancer at age 5

1 on April 5. The next day, the Amphitheatre night club next door caught fire. Firefighters doused the blaze for more than six hours. Most of the businesses were open within a day or two. But the businesses on either side of the Amphitheatre — Nicahabana and the Ybor City Jazz House — took longer as they grappled with water or smoke damage. The Ogandos reopened Saturday. The Jazz House is expected to reopen tonight. Read more from

Tampa cigar business tied to which way FDA rolls on regulations – April 13, 2016
It was the Cuba embargo that ended Tampa’s reign as cigar capital of the world. Without access to the fine tobacco grown on the island nation, every Tampa cigar factory except the J.C. Newman Cigar Co. closed down. Now the prospect of ending the embargo after five decades has raised hopes of saving the last vestige of that era. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is drafting a regulatory process to approve new cigars entering the U.S. market. Industry leaders, however, say the rules appear so strict that they would have to pull most stock from their shelves and that creating blends would prove too expensive. J.C. Newman said it might have to close. Read more from

Ybor City celebrates its Italian heritage – April 10, 2016
Hundreds of Italian-Americans and Tampa Bay area locals took to the streets in Ybor City on Sunday for the 19th annual Festa Italiana. The weekend event, which honored the traditions of Italian culture, allowed attendees to enjoy authentic cuisine from more than 25 restaurants, along with music and the company of family and friends. There was a $10 admission charge, and tickets were sold at an additional charge for food and drink. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who attends every year, said the festival’s fun atmosphere attracts him. Learn more from

Saved by the Bell actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar promotes "Precious Cargo" in Ybor City
WFTS-TV ABC Action News – April 3, 2016
Mark-Paul Gosselaar has landed plenty of roles as an adult, but he's well known for his role on the 1990s TV show "Saved By the Bell." He was in Tampa this weekend promoting his new movie “Precious Cargo,” an action movie with Bruce Willis, at the Gasparilla International Film Festival. The film premiered Saturday at the Ybor City movie theater. Gosselaar said he had a chance to check out the historic district. Watch the report from WFTS-TV.

Gasparilla Film Festival honors Rita Moreno
Film Journal International – April 1, 2016
The 10th Suncoast Credit Union Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) opened March 30 at the Tampa Theater and Ybor City’s Carmike Cinemas in Tampa, Fla. This year’s special tribute will celebrate the many accomplishments of Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony winner Rita Moreno. GIFF will honor Moreno with a Lifetime Achievement Award and screen her film Remember Me. Read more from Film Journal International.

The Improv in Ybor City serves up comedy, cocktails – March 30, 2016
The Improv — Ybor City's branch of the iconic chain — is known for its big-name comedy acts, but it also hosts an open-mic night on Wednesdays that folks interested in the less-polished side of comedy will want to check out. The Wednesday night show is Comedy In the Raw, featuring a first-come, first-served lineup of amateurs, working local comics and the occasional touring pro. Get more details from

Ybor transforms for 2016 Tampa Pride Parade and Festival
WTSP-TV – March 26, 2016
Ybor city was full of excitement Saturday for the 2016 Tampa Pride Parade and Festival.Thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate LGBT rights and equality.The parade was co-sponsored by the city of Tampa and kicked off by Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Then lots of interesting and lively floats followed. More details from WTSP-TV.

Tampa’s pride parade draws colorful crowd – March 26, 2016
Thousands of cheering, rainbow-clad LGBT supporters flocked to the streets of Ybor City on Saturday to celebrate gay pride in Tampa and a monumental year for marriage equality.Tampa Pride returned for its second annual parade on Saturday, about three years after local authorities lifted a countywide ban on officially acknowledging or promoting gay pride events. Read more from

New in-fill homes planned in Tampa’s Ybor City
Tampa Bay Business Journal – March 26, 2016
An in-fill development group plans to restore three bungalow-style houses and build three new row-style houses in the Ybor City section of Tampa. A group of investors lead by Michael Mincberg, president of Sight Real Estate in Tampa, is investing in the development, called Casitas En Cuatro. The development site is on Fourth Avenue in Ybor City between 18 Street and 19 Street. Learn more about the story from the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Tampa's Cuban community split on restoring relations
WFTS-TV ABC Action News – March 21, 2016
Many of the Tampa Bay area's thousands of Cuban Americans are keeping close tabs on the historic developments in relations between the two countries and now the president's visit to the island nation. But the community remains largely divided on whether what's happening is a good thing, or a big mistake. Watch the report from WFTS-TV ABC Action News.

Ybor festival celebrates the Cuban sandwich – March 20, 2016
Jesus Perez laughed as he stood in line at the Smoking Cubans tent Sunday during the fifth annual Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City. A Cuba native, Perez said he moved to the U.S. from Havana in 1967. In Cuba’s capital city, he said, there’s no such thing as a “Cuban sandwich.” “It’s just a sandwich,” Perez said with a chuckle. Perez was one of hundreds of people who packed Centennial Park for the annual festival. Perez, of Bartow, was attending for the first time. Read more from

Tampa's Last Cigar Factory Ponders More Competition From Cuba
Voice of America – March 20, 2016
Rising hopes that the half-century U.S. trade embargo on Cuba might be coming to an end are raising concerns for U.S. cigar makers who may face stiffer competition from Cuban cigar imports. But the people who run the last major cigar factory in Tampa, Florida, say they have been making fine cigars for a very long time and expect to keep working far into the future. The J.C. Newman cigar factory in the historic Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa is a ballet of complex old machines and deft hands, as 130 people make 60,000 cigars a day. Get details from the Voice of America

Tampa, Cuba have a history that was forged on baseball diamond – March 19, 2016
The last time a professional baseball team from the Tampa area competed in Cuba, it was the hottest ticket in that nation. It was the early 1950s — before Fidel Castro rose to power — and a minor league game between Tampa and Havana drew 30,000 fans. A strong Cuba-Tampa baseball bond lasted for nearly seven decades, until the start of the Cuban revolution. The first major wave of Cuban immigrants to Tampa came in 1885 with the founding of Ybor City. Read more from

Ybor City is Tampa’s off-the-radar Latin Quarter
The Toronto Star – March 14, 2016
Roosters strut around Ybor City, congregating in the public parking lot, loitering in the park, cock-a-doodle-dooing like they own the joint. They do, actually. These privileged chickens are descendants of the backyard birds raised by the neighbourhood’s first residents — the melting pot of immigrants that started arriving in the 1880s to work in cigar factories. Ybor City is now a National Historic Landmark District and, somewhat oddly, a bird sanctuary. Details from the Toronto Star.

Clinton, Sanders make Tampa ‘Ground Zero’ on Thursday – March 9, 2016
Hillsborough County will serve briefly as the epicenter of the Democratic battle for the presidential nomination Thursday with both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders making campaign stops in Tampa just days before the critical Florida primary. Clinton is scheduled to address supporters at a get out the vote rally at The Ritz Ybor in Ybor City at noon. Later in the day, at 7 p.m., Sanders will hold a rally at the Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Read more from

Lasagna fans line up for one last Spaghetti Warehouse meal
Creative Loafing – March 8, 2016
Last week, Spaghetti Warehouse in Ybor City revealed it would close its doors, effective March 10. Since opening in 1983, the neighborhood restaurant has provided a space for countless special occasions — birthdays, anniversaries or just a lunch out with friends. Many of Spaghetti Warehouse's lasagna fans were shocked about the closure announcement, and have lined up daily to reminisce about memories made and savor the Italian cuisine once more. Details from

Gasparilla Film Festival lineup draws Rita Moreno, Diane Ladd, Mark-Paul Gosselaar – March 7, 2016
As if Rita Moreno needed another award, for EGOT's sake, she'll soon pick up another at the Gasparilla International Film Festival. Now in its 10th year, the festival runs March 30 through April 3 at Tampa Theatre and Ybor City's Muvico Centro Ybor 20. Read more from

Sushi House rolls out to Ybor City Friday
Creative Loafing – March 3, 2016
A new sushi restaurant has landed in the historic district of Ybor City. It's called Sushi House by kazoku sushi. The owners say they chose Ybor because of its close community feel, which they hope their concept — a neighborhood restaurant for sushi buffs and rookies alike who seek to explore Japanese cuisine — will simulate. Get more information from

In Ybor City, U.S. special ops go off base and on offensive to find best of best ideas – February 26, 2016
As the U.S. Special Operations Command guy in charge of equipping the nation's special ops forces with the best possible — best imagined — tools to do their dangerous jobs, James "Hondo" Geurts was not satisfied. He is the driving force behind the creation of an idea lab dubbed SOFWERX that has quietly landed in space in one of Ybor City's oldest buildings. Its mission: to solicit entrepreneurs, academics and inventive people to pitch ideas that might translate into next-generation equipment for Special Forces in the field. Read more from

Rescue crews simulate streetcar crash during Ybor City emergency drill – February 26, 2016
Folks visiting Ybor City this morning may have been alarmed by increased law enforcement presence, flashing lights, and quite a bit of hurried rescue activity. No worries, it was just part of an emergency drill. Tampa Fire Rescue, along with the Tampa Police Department and HART, conducted the simulated emergency response at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and 13th Street, according to a news release. Get more details form

400 new apartment units planned for Ybor City
ABC Action News – February 25, 2016
There are currently about 1,000 units available for rent in the Ybor City area. Managers at the Ybor City Development Corp. expect about 400 new units to be online within the next two years. One of the projects anticipated to help bring more residence to Ybor City is the renovation of the Oliva Cigar Factory. Developer Ariel Quintela said the building is being renovated into 38 apartments. Learn more from ABC Action News.

GameTime goes beyond arcade – February 25, 2016
When the operators of GameTime in Ybor City were forced to close due to construction above them, they took the opportunity to renovate. After closing their doors on Nov. 2 and exceeding a $1 million budget, they officially reopened on Feb. 19. Now, there's a new restaurant and sports bar offering a more gourmet-style menu, updated party rooms, more than 120 games and simulators, Showdown and four lanes of mini bowling. Get the details from

See inside Ashley Furniture's new e-commerce offices in Ybor City
Tampa Bay Business Journal – February 23, 2016
Ybor City took another step toward becoming a true live-work-play neighborhood Tuesday as Ashley Furniture HomeStores celebrated the opening of its ecommerce offl.ices.The retailer moved 200 jobs to Ybor City as part of the new operation, including the creation of 40 new e-commerce jobs. Read more from Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Obama's historic Cuba trip is boon to Tampa Bay
WTSP-TV Tampa Bay’s 10 – February 23, 2016
In just a few weeks, history will be made a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida. It's been 88 years since a sitting president last visited Cuba. In March, President Barack Obama is set to end that streak. You can't talk about Tampa history without talking about Cuba. For generations, the pages of La Gaceta in Ybor City have documented and debated the Cuban embargo, but President Obama's trip is pushing the reset button on U.S./Cuba relations. Watch the report from WTSP-TV Tampa Bay’s 10.

Opinions From Ybor City Vary On Obama's Cuba Visit
– February 19, 2016
To call an American president's visit to Cuba 'historic' doesn't reflect the rarity of the occasion. In January 1928, President Calvin Coolidge arrived in Havana via the USS Texas, a warship. 'Talkies' was still a phrase people used when referring to movies with sound. It has been almost 90 years since that visit. When the White House announced an official visit for March 21 and 22, it was a giant step in the process of normalizing our relationship with the Communist nation. But opinions on this side of the Florida Straits are mixed. Listen to the report from WUSF-FM.

Pirates invade Ybor City for Krewe of Sant’Yago Knight Parade
WFLA-TV – February 14, 2016
This year’s Crewe of Sant’ Yago Knight Parade in Ybor City kicked off on Saturday night.  Every year thousands come to enjoy the festivities, hundreds come dressed as pirates. Parade organizers say there are 124 units in this year’s parade, floats, marching bands and other dignitaries.  Louis Campanello is the chairman for the event and says it is fun for the whole family. “It’s spectacular, I mean at night with the lit up floats, the crews, the beads flying everywhere, it’s amazing.” Watch the report from WFLA­-TV.

Ashley Global Retail honored for Tampa redevelopment project
Furniture Today – February 10, 2016
Ashley Global Retail picked up the award for Best Repurpose Project by the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Assn. for its new offices that will open in Ybor City later this month. The project involved repurposing a portion of an existing 20-screen movie theater at Centro Ybor into Ashley Global Retail’s 72,000-square-foot creative and office center. Get more details from Furniture Today.

Fernando Noriega Jr., Tampa administrator who fought for Ybor City's revival, dies – February 9, 2016
Fernando Noriega Jr. understood how special Ybor City could be, how vibrant a community its mix of Cuban, Italian and Spanish immigrants could create. He was the son of a Cuban mother and a Spanish father who worked in Ybor's cigar factories. He played football on the brick-paved streets with kids from the neighborhood, most of them first-generation Americans. So when Mr. Noriega climbed the ranks of Tampa city government, he didn't forget about Ybor City. Even after urban renewal efforts and new highways gashed its neighborhoods and much of the area fell into disrepair, he made it a goal to bring it back. Read more from

Rays’ Kiermaier, Odorizzi grand marshals for Sant’ Yago Knight Parade – February 8, 2016
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and pitcher Jake Odorizzi will serve as grand marshals in the Sant’ Yago Knight Parade in Ybor City on Saturday. The Rays will be joined by Big Brothers Big Sisters in the parade through Tampa’s historic district. Since the early 1970s, The Krewe of the Knights of Sant’ Yago has organized and hosted the Knight Parade, an annual celebration of Tampa civic pride. Each year, the parade helps to raise funds for the Krewe of Knights of Sant’ Yago Education Foundation, which has provided more than $2 million in scholarships to local students. Get more details from

WMNF Tropical Heatwave lineup: Ra Ra Riot, James McMurtry, more; concert moving out of Cuban Club – February 6, 2016
WMNF-88.5's long-running Tropical Heatwave festival rolled out the first major wave of artists on its 2016 lineup, and it's headlined by the same act that headlined the inaugural Gasparilla Music Festival back in 2012: New York indie rockers Ra Ra Riot. But the most interesting part of WMNF's lineup announcement might be that the festival is moving from its longtime home, the Cuban Club, into "the clubs of Ybor City. Get more details from

Tampa’s toll-lanes plan intrusive, elist, obselete, protesters say – February 6, 2016
About 150 people decked in bright-yellow rain ponchos marched through portions of Ybor City on Saturday morning decrying the state’s plan to build express interstate toll lanes. Pushing children in strollers and walking dogs on leashes, the protesters chanted as they hiked along the community’s rain-soaked streets carrying signs with slogans such as: “Highway to Hell,” “Express Lanes Wrong for Tampa” and “Tampa’s Smarter Than TBX.” The Stop TBX crowd contends the multibillion-dollar Tampa Bay Express project to build toll lanes along Interstates 275, 4 and 75 will do more harm than good. Read more from

Rays meet with Tampa, Hillsborough officials
WTSP-TV – February 5, 2016
The Tampa Bay Rays' search for a place to play across the Bay is officially on. Team leaders met privately with Hillsborough County and Tampa leaders on Friday for the first time since St. Petersburg agreed to allow the team look for a new stadium site. It took six long years to get to this point, but team President Brian Auld says there's still a long way to go. "We're at the very beginning of a long process. We haven't identified an ideal location. We're gonna spend a lot of time, money and research to get the best possible location." There are several possible sites including, the Tampa Park Apartments between downtown and Ybor City. Watch the report from WTSP-TV

Fun sailing with Gasparilla continues until April
The Oracle – February 5, 2016
Tampa’s 101st Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of Pirates came Saturday with its usual lively flair. The annual celebration kicked off with the invasion of Jose Gaspar and his krewe at the Tampa Convention Center, and the parade continued down Bayshore Boulevard with no shortage of colorful buccaneers, beads and beer. Although the Parade of Pirates is over, festivities in honor of Gasparilla have just begun, and the next few weeks will bring more opportunities to get in on the fun. On Feb. 13, the Krewe of the Knights of Sant’ Yago will host its annual Illuminated Knight Parade in Ybor City. While it isn’t an official Gasparilla event, the Knight Parade has followed the Parade of Pirates every year since 1974. Read the story from The Oracle.

Secretive SOCOM Opens Up to Private Sector
National Defense Magazine – January 25, 2016
U.S. special operations forces are exceptionally tight-lipped about their duty assignments. But they are becoming increasingly forthright about their interest in innovative technology. Taking a page from the Silicon Valley business playbook, the U.S. Special Operations Command has opened up its own technology incubator in Ybor City, an historic Tampa, Florida, neighborhood not far from SOCOM headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base. Details from National Defense Magazine.

Accardi brothers buy historic Ybor building
Tampa Bay Business Journal – January 25, 2016
The Accardi brothers have added an historic building in Ybor City to their portfolio of downtown Tampa real estate. They purchased the Larmon Furniture building at 1324 E. 7th Ave. for $1.375 million in a deal that closed Friday, Jason Accardi said. They also picked up an adjacent, 45-spot surface parking lot for $250,000. The 20,000-square-foot, two-story building was used as a furniture showroom for more than 40 years, until Larmon vacated the building in 2013. Get more details from the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Craft distillery coming to Ybor City
Tampa Bay Business Journal – January 25, 2016
Florida Cane Distillery's move to Ybor City will likely benefit the historic district as much as the distillery itself. The distillery has signed a lease for a 2,500-square-foot storefront in the El Encanto Building at 1814 N. 15th St., where it will move from its current location near Brandon. Co-owner Pat O'Brien said he hopes to open the new location by March. Read more from the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Survivors: Designer Michael Vollbracht rescues vintage fashions to help fight cancer
Creative Loafing – January 7, 2016
“I have a good eye for trash,” says Michael Vollbracht. Boy, does he. Except that what the designer spotted on New York City sidewalks and thrift shops is more treasure than trash — a trove of extraordinary fashion finds that he is showing to the public for the first time in “Though Tattered and Torn…,” a fundraiser for St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital and the Hinks and Elaine Shimberg Breast Center on Jan. 14 in the Ybor City. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Krewes seek pooches to strut their stuff
– January 6, 2016
Get into the Gasparilla spirit with your pooch in two events over the next two weekends where dogs can strut their stuff in pirate gear and costumes. The events, sponsored by local krewes, are open to the public with proceeds benefiting local animal organizations. Barkarilla is from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza, 1701 E. Eighth Ave. More details from

BHS marching band brings home grand champion trophy
The Pentagraph (Bloomington, IL) – January 6, 2016
During the final moments of 2015, members of Bloomington High School’s marching band paraded through Ybor City in Tampa, Fla., to cheers and applause. “It was one of the largest crowds we’ve ever seen at a parade,” said Max Chernick, director of bands at BHS. “It was so fun for the students and the crowd really energized their performance.” Learn more from The Pentagraph.

Florida Cane Distillery moving to Ybor City
WTSP-TV – January 5, 2016
A local craft vodka distillery is preparing to make a big change this spring. The Florida Cane Distillery is moving from a warehouse in Brandon to the old El Encanto building at the corner of 15th Street and 8th Avenue in Ybor City. Watch the report from WTSP-TV.

Outback parade in Ybor gets Tennessee, Northwestern fans ready for game – December 31, 2015
Universities lucky enough to score an invitation to the Outback Bowl enjoy immersion into a variety of exotic experiences — and this year, most pleasant weather, to boot. In the same way Beach Day at Clearwater Beach seemed scripted by the chamber of commerce, fair winds greeted the annual parade Thursday night in Ybor City — a blend of Spanish, Cuban and Italian cultures. Read more from

It's a Big Orange New Year's Eve in Tampa
WBIR-TV – December 31, 2015
The Tennessee football team and Big Orange fans will celebrate the New Year in Tampa. It was easy to spot the Vol fans in the huge crowds that lined the streets of Ybor City, an eclectic community, famous for its cigar factories before World War II. It's the site every year of the Outback Bowl parade, which will feature the marching bands for both schools. Details from WBIR-TV.

Snow coming to Ybor City
WFTS-TV – December 11, 2015
It might not feel like winter in Florida, but snow will be falling on Saturday night in Ybor City. The fourth annual Snow on 7th Holiday Parade will kick off in Ybor City on 7th Avenue from 21st to Avenida Republica de Cuba at 7 p.m. A pre-show will be held at 6 p.m. in front of Centro Ybor. Get more details from WFTS-TV.

Historic Tampa Cemetery in need of money for maintenance and repairs
WFTS-TV – December 11, 2015
Many of Tampa's cigar rolling pioneers are laid to rest in the Centro Espanol de Tampa Cemetery in Ybor City. Stones marked with the names Salcines, Fernandez and Castro dating back to 1905 make up a historic treasure open to the public. But that treasure is showing some cracks. Learn more from WFTS-TV.

Ybor, downtown in tug of war over project’s tax revenues – December 10, 2015
The nondescript brick building and parking lot that make up the TECO Gas site on Channelside Drive rarely attracts much attention. But that has all changed since a developer announced plans to put two residential towers and a grocery store there. Now, the site has become the center of a tug of war between downtown and Ybor City business leaders who want future property taxes from the development to be spent in their district. Details from

The Attic on the verge of becoming Ybor's next music venue and bar – December 7, 2015
There's a lot of history buried here at 1901 15th St. N in Ybor City, the future home of the Attic, a concert venue, cocktail bar and brewery scheduled to open next spring — permits pending, that is. "We're literally minutes from construction," Lilly said. Learn more from

Athena House for Homeless Women Vets
WUSF News – December 4, 2015
Tampa’s Athena House was founded specifically to help homeless women veterans. The restored, two-story brick home sits on a busy Ybor City street. The building is nearly a century old and was once home to WWI and WWII veterans, according to Athena program case manager, Morgan McKeown. Get more details from WUSF News.

8 Delicious Sandwiches Across the USA
Known for its proximity to the white-sand beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, urban Tampa features delights all its own in Ybor City, founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers. Find out more from

Sunday Morning features the Columbia's Cuban sandwich
WTSP-TV – November 22, 2015
Susan Spencer profiles Ybor City's Columbia Restaurant's take on the Cuban sandwich with the help of owner Ricardo Gonzmart and Andrea Gonzmart-Williams on CBS Sunday Morning. Watch the report from WTSP-TV.

Having endured embargo, Tampa-Cuba ties grow even stronger
Tampa Tribune – November 22, 2015
For more than 70 years, Cuba and Tampa enjoyed a fruitful relationship that shaped each economically and culturally. Cuba supplied the tobacco that Ybor City turned into cigars beginning in the 1880s, imports and exports flowed between them, and they traded visitors — including entertainers — on daily flights and ferries. Get more details from the Tampa Tribune.

Tree-lighting helps Ybor City get decked out for holidays
– November 19, 2015
It may feel like summer, but it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas in Ybor City. Santa had lots of help Wednesday in the tradition of lighting the decorated 34-foot holiday tree at Centro Ybor on East Seventh Avenue. Read more from

Lack of drone regulations concern Tampa attorney
WFLA-TV – November 19, 2015
Dale Swope can’t help but smile as he launches his drone from the roof of his Ybor City office.  The Tampa attorney has owned it for several years now and says it can do incredible things. Watch the report from WFLA-TV.

Bob Buckhorn says he supports TBX project — thinks there’s a “middle ground” to satisfy the community
SaintPetersBlog – November 11, 2015
Bob Buckhorn is optimistic that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) can come to find a “middle ground” with concerned Tampa residents as the state agency begins the process of adding express toll lanes to I-275 in Tampa. Read more from

Opponents of new express toll lanes pack MPO meeting
The Tampa Tribune – November 10, 2015
More than 100 people showed up Tuesday night to oppose the state’s plan for express toll lanes on local interstates, saying the project is bad urban planning and that the tolls were so high they would result in “a second mortgage payment” for families. Get more details from the Tampa Tribune.

Popular Tampa blog partners with Ybor City businesses to create candles, clothing
83degrees – November 10, 2015
In 2012, Nicholas Catania and Ryan Sullivan, along with friend Allison Vetter, formed the social group Never Have I Ever Tampa Bay, launching a blog and a tradition of trying everything local. In October 2015, the NHIE team announced a new partnership with Ybor City mainstay Seventh Avenue Apothecary, a local small business where candles are still poured by hand. Earlier in 2015, the team partnered with Black & Denim's Roberto Torres to create the 'Everything Local' T-shirt, which is sold in Torres' Blind Tiger Cafe and online. Read more from 83 Degrees.

‘Cigar City’ rolls out its finest smokes for Ybor festival
The Tampa Tribune - November 7, 2015
Under an unseasonably hot sun and amid a haze of tobacco smoke, cigar aficionados gathered Saturday to buy and sell the best the Cigar City has to offer. Hundreds of smokers — including Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn — came to the Ybor City Cigar Festival on Saturday afternoon at Centennial Park. Read more in The Tampa Tribune.

More support for J.C. Newman factory – November 6, 2015
A recent editorial by the Tampa Tribune highlights what is at stake for Cigar City if the FDA regulations crack down on cigars: “Last year, outraged citizens sent more than 80,000 messages to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in an effort to save Tampa’s last cigar factory from a bureaucratic noose. Yet the FDA’s decision on the matter still has not been made public, and legislation that would resolve the issue is mired in Congress, despite strong bipartisan support. Learn more on

A Cuban consulate for Tampa: ¡Cómo no!
The Tampa Tribune - November 4, 2015
Before long, Cuba will open a consulate in this country to complement its Washington embassy. That consulate should be in Tampa. If history matters — and the pre-Castro roots of Ybor City, the soul of Tampa, surely should — there is no place better suited than this city. The link is as literal as Cuban immigrant cigar makers and lectors — and the tobacco, itself, which came from Cuba. More from The Tampa Tribune.

E.J. Otero blasts Hillsborough Commissioners for supporting Cuban consulate in Tampa
– November 4, 2015
Much of the Tampa Bay area business and political establishment is all in with having a Cuban consulate established in Tampa, so when the Hillsborough County Commission approved the idea recently, there was little resistance stated by any board members or members of the public. Since then, though, two prominent Hillsborough Republicans Danny Alvarez and now E.J. Otero – have slammed the board for its endorsement. Read more from

Ken Hagan optimistic about Rays to Tampa after St. Pete elections: 'Hillsborough County is ready'

The Tampa Bay Times – November 4, 2015The victory party for Lisa Wheeler-Brown may have been in St. Petersburg, but on the other side of the bay, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan was celebrating, too. Wheeler-Brown’s decisive win over Will Newton in the District 7 St. Petersburg council race is expected to open the doors for the Tampa Bay Rays to explore new sites away from Tropicana Field. Hagan has spearheaded efforts to prepare Hillsborough County for this day in hopes of luring the team across the bridge to Tampa. Previous discussions and studies about a Hillsborough stadium have centered on two areas: Westshore and the downtown Tampa area, whether that’s Channelside, Ybor City or another dense, urban zone. Details from The Tampa Bay Times.

Can FDOT’s TBX be improved? Community meetings begin to attempt to address that
SaintPetersBlog – November 3, 2015
Although if it went up for a popular vote in the Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, V.M Ybor and Ybor City it would probably go down to defeat, there is no indication that the controversial Tampa Bay Express project from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is going to be stopped anytime soon. More details from

Reed at ENCORE! Tampa is completed, fully occupied
- November 03, 2015
The Reed at ENCORE! Tampa, a new senior building between downtown Tampa and Ybor City, is now complete and fully occupied. Get more details from 83degrees.

A visit to historic Ybor City in Tampa
– November 3, 2015
Florida has a lot of interesting places to visit, among them is Ybor City in Tampa, on the western coast. This historic area, northeast of downtown Tampa, was settled in 1880 by cigar manufacturers and is one of two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. More details from

Business still booms at Cuban bread's birthplace: 100-year-old Florida bakery
Bayoubuzz – November 2, 2015
The history of Cuban bread can be traced back to the flour-strewn halls of a small bakery on the edge of Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. Read more at Bayoubuzz.

Editorial: Cigar factory in federal limbo
- November 2, 2015
Last year, outraged citizens sent more than 80,000 messages to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in an effort to save Tampa’s last cigar factory from a bureaucratic noose. Yet the FDA’s decision on the matter still has not been made public, and legislation that would resolve the issue is mired in Congress, despite strong bipartisan support. The fate of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. in Ybor City is at stake. Learn more at

Eccentric, yes, but legendary Ybor doctor was no killer
Tampa Tribune - October 27, 2015
José Luis Avellanal wanted people to believe he could talk to the dead, even raise them up. Historians often label Avellanal’s real life exploits as some of Tampa’s most fascinating true stories. Yet, each Halloween season brings a trumped-up version of Avellanal’s life, one that links him with murder to fit the ghoulish holiday. Read more from the Tampa Tribune.

Once thriving Ybor City convent may be converted to offices – October 25, 2015
There was a time when Our Lady of Perpetual Help was among the busiest spots in Ybor City. As the Catholic church for a thriving immigrant community from the late-1800s through the 1950s, OLPH as parishioners call it offered standing room only during many Saturday and Sunday masses. And on weekdays, children attended the OLPH Academy, run for many years by nuns from the Sisters of Notre Dame who lived in the nearby convent. Then, in the mid-1900s, the descendants of Ybor City’s founding families began moving to other parts of the city. Now, the little-used 12,600-square-foot convent is being sold to Joe Capitano Sr., president of Radiant Oil, headquartered in Ybor City. Parishioners said they have heard Capitano will convert it into an office building. Read more on

Ybor competition gives new meaning to ‘rollaway beds’ – October 24, 2015
Hours before the streets would fill with Guavaween partygoers, beds fastened to wheels raced down Seventh Avenue, this eclectic community’s main street. Saturday was the third annual Big Monster’s Bed Race, a competition that tests endurance and engineering as teams of seven race against the clock for two blocks through Ybor City, steering beds built for speed. Before the race began the beds made their way along Seventh in a parade of sorts, with participants tossing beads and waving to supporters. Read more on

Donors, recipients to meet at Lion’s Eye gala
WFLA-TVOctober 22, 2015
The world’s largest eye bank and cutting edge vision research center is in Tampa’s historic Ybor City. For nearly a decade now the Lion’s Eye Institute for Transplant & Research holds a special event to celebrate advancements made at its facility. This year will be especially heartwarming, as donors and recipients get the chance to meet. “I thank you, the gift of your son’s, his legacy moves on,” said cornea transplant recipient Robert Perez talking to Dawn and Michael Futch, their 19-year-old son lost his life in an automobile accident and was an organ and tissue donor. Learn more from

Tampa celebrates ‘Back to the Future’ Day
WFLA-TV – October 21, 2015
Wednesday afternoon at 4:29 p.m. marked a key moment in the space-time continuum. That’s the moment Doc and Marty McFly arrived in 2015. So in honor of that, the whole world celebrated “Back to the Future” Day. At the Crow Bar in Ybor City, Marty McFly could easily bump into his future self because many were honoring the beloved franchise. “It kinda gave us a glimpse of things that we’re supposed to expect. I think that’s what a lot of us love about it,” movie fan Lindy Melendez said. “Keeps you young, keeps you like a little kid at heart,” fan Julius Pereira said. More details from

Hillsborough commissioners support establishment of a Cuban Consulate in Tampa - October 21, 2015
Hillsborough County's access to air and seaports, in addition to its deep Cuban roots, led the County Commission on Wednesday to vote in favor of building a Cuban Consulate here. Momentum to bring the United States' first Cuban Consulate in more than a half-century to the Tampa Bay area has been building for months. The Tampa City Council, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Ybor City boosters and Ybor City Chamber of Commerce already have announced their support. During Wednesday's meeting, County Commissioner Les Miller said Hillsborough is the most logical home, even more than heavily Cuban Miami. "Miami is a Johnny-come-lately to Tampa and Hillsborough County," Miller said. He talked about the strong Cuban influences he grew up with in Ybor City. Read more from

City Council Approves Land Sale for Marti Project – October 15, 2015
The latest in a series of transformative projects for Ybor City took a big step forward Thursday. Without discussion, the City Council approved the sale of a third of a block at the western gateway to the historic district for $792,000 — a price that's midway between two appraisals commissioned by the city. The buyer is a partnership between home builder Ariel Quintela and BluePearl Veterinary chain CEO Darryl Shaw. Quintela and Shaw have proposed to build a four-story building — The Marti — with 100 apartments, 8,000 square feet of retail space and an underground parking garage with about 100 spaces. Read more on

Guavaween returns for its 30th Incarnation – October 15, 2015
Ybor City’s historic Cuban Club will become a haunted wasteland when Guavaween: Apocalypse takes over on Saturday. The Halloween celebration will return to Tampa for its 30th year, 6 p.m.-2 a.m., for those 21 and older. The theme will feature decorations and entertainment inspired by a post-apocalyptic environment. The event’s popular costume contest will offer a $1,000 cash prize to the overall winner. Every contestant will have the opportunity to show off their getup on a side stage in front of a panel of judges that will include Mama Guava, the event’s figurehead. Learn more from

Streetcar Fest Draws Big Crowds Amid Expansion Talk – October 17, 2015
Kids donned paper conductor’s caps and thousands of local residents and visitors fished for quarters Saturday as the TECO Line Streetcar System threw its annual Streetcar Fest. The annual celebration, with all rides at 25 cents, came as talk of a dramatically different streetcar system has swirled about. While the 2.7-mile line that runs from Channelside to Ybor hasn’t amounted to much more than a tourist novelty, with ridership numbers dwindling, massive downtown redevelopment plans could put some added juice into the clanging cars. Recently, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said he wanted to see the streetcar line “become a real, viable means of transportation,” expanded to traverse all of downtown and eventually reach Tampa International Airport. Read more on

Cupcake Festival a “Sweet” Deal
– October 15, 2015
This Saturday, I’m once again shouldering the challenging task of judging food as the 5th Annual Cupcake Festival returns to Ybor City Saturday Market. My “work” involves evaluating the nuances of an astounding array of swirly frosted cakelets and trying to look like I’m doing more than stuffing my face. It’s a tough gig. Last year, our panel of judges “evaluated” 16 different cupcakes, after which I went up an entire waist size. I loved every minute of it.The festival includes local amateur bakers as they square off for the title of best cupcake baker in Tampa. During this year’s event, which coincidentally falls on National Sweetest Day, visitors can purchase scrumptious original creations from more than a dozen cupcake vendors. Details on

ViVa Tampa Bay Is Part of Hispanic Heritage Month
– October 14, 2015
We're in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month and ViVa Tampa Bay is the latest festival to celebrate with Latin music, food, and fun. It takes place Sunday, Oct. 18 in Ybor City's Centennial Park. "ViVa Tampa Bay is a free event for the community," says Arlene Marie from festival promoter All American Music. "It's going to be a great event. We welcome everyone with their families and their kids to come out and have a great time with us." Learn more from

Cuba’s official historian visits Ybor City – October 9, 2015
Havana's official historian, Eusebio Leal, has spent the past four decades helping preserve and restore more than 300 landmark buildings within Old Havana, a borough of the Cuban capital. The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce hosted Leal at the Columbia Restaurant on Friday. He gave the crowd a brief history, through a translator, of Havana and its important ties to the United States — specifically to Ybor City. Leal feels attached to Ybor City, especially in a place like the Columbia, because of the cities' joint history together. He also spoke of the Old and New Worlds meeting in Cuba, Florida and the Caribbean. Read more from

Major Ybor City project moves closer to reality – October 8, 2015
After nearly two years of trying, City Hall appears to have a buyer with a big plan for a high-profile corner in Ybor City. The City Council next month is expected to learn more about a proposal to sell a third of a block at E Seventh Avenue and Nick Nuccio Parkway for $792,000. The buyer is a partnership between homebuilder Ariel Quintela and Darryl Shaw, the CEO of BluePearl Veterinary, a Tampa-based company with emergency animal hospitals and specialty veterinary clinics in 17 states. Read more from

Columbia Restaurant Group willing to back light rail
ABC Action News – October 8, 2015
"To be a great city, to attract corporations to move in, you have to have some kind of mass transit and rail's the way to go,” said Richard Gonzmart. Gonzmart, 4th generation President and co-owner of the Columbia Restaurant Group, says he's not only a light rail supporter, he's willing to pay for part of it. "The community has to support it and it's got to be a public, private partnership,” said Gonzmart. Gonzmart believes the cost burden shouldn't be on the taxpayer. Learn more from ABC Action News.

Award-winning painting features relative of Ybor City’s founder – September 30, 2015
Artist Daria Tantao, 40, has lived in the Brandon area for 26 years, including on a houseboat on the Alafia River for a short time, but her roots in the Tampa area go further back. She recently won the $1,200 grand prize for the 29th annual Tampa Hispanic Heritage Poster Contest for a 24-inch by 36-inch acrylic painting of a cigar maker at work. “I am not Hispanic,” said Tantao, whose husband is Puerto Rican, but “in the 1930s, my great-uncle operated a street trolley in Ybor City, while his wife rolled cigars at Hav-A-Tampa. My grandmother also rolled cigars at Hav-A-Tampa in the 1950s, so there’s definitely a personal appreciation for local history.” In choosing a subject for her painting, Tantao chose Rafael Martinez-Ybor, the great-grandson of Vicente Martinez-Ybor who founded Ybor City. The painting’s foreground features Ybor rolling a cigar. Learn more from

Ybor leaders say Historic District is a great spot for Cuban consulate – September 18, 2015
Despite the bouquets St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is tossing Cuba's way, Ybor City boosters believe the island nation's choice for its first consulate in the United States in more than a half century should be Tampa's famed historic district. "I have yet to run into anyone in Ybor who thinks it's a bad idea,'' says Patrick Manteiga, editor of La Gaceta. Boosters point to a bond between Ybor City and Cuba that goes back more than 100 years. Cuban freedom fighter Jose Marti appealed to Ybor City cigar workers for aid in the 1890s. Later, Fidel Castro sought help from Ybor City sympathizers in the years before he toppled Fulgencio Batista, seized power and declared himself a communist. Learn more from

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off in Tampa’s Ybor City
The Tampa Tribune - September 12, 2015
Sporadic rain showers and thunder didn’t keep people from coming to Ybor City on Saturday to celebrate Hispanic culture. The festival, scheduled to run from noon to 5 p.m., was hosted by Ybor City Saturday Market and Tampa Hispanic Heritage Inc., and featured music, dancing and plenty of food. Read more from Tampa Tribune.

9/11 victims remembered at several events across Tampa Bay area
The Tampa Tribune - September 11, 2015
Recalling the events of September 11, 2001 is a somber and respectful time. Of the many memorial celebrations that were going on around the country, Ybor City was included.  Many people…visited the Tampa Fallen Heroes Memorial in Ybor City. The memorial, unveiled last year. Includes an iron beam recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. A sculpture by artist Becky Ault is called “Fearless Champions." Read more from Tampa Tribune.

Fringe benefits-Silver Meteor Gallery celebrates two decades
Creative Loafing - September 10, 2015
For 20 years now, the diminutive, unassuming space known as the Silver Meteor Gallery has been hosting new and nearly-new theater companies (and art exhibits) that couldn’t afford to get their start elsewhere. Located on an easy-to-miss alley in Ybor City behind the Columbia Restaurant and some railroad tracks, the Gallery, run by friendly, enthusiastic Michael Murphy, has presented both companies that went on to great success in other venues, as well as troubled theater groups on their way to extinction. Tiny and out-of-the-way as it is, the Silver Meteor is one of a kind — there’s no other Bay area space quite so welcoming to theater groups with little or nothing in their bank accounts. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Draft days: Tampa area abounds with beer-themed events
The Tampa Tribune - September 10, 2015
Among the various early events to celebrate the upcoming fall holidays, last Saturday [there were] rare, one-of-a-kind craft brews from 73 brewers (local, national and international) …served at the Half Way to Tampa Beer Week Festival from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Cuban Club in Ybor City. Read more fromTampa Tribune.

Reel Deal Thusdays presents Over the Edge with Rec Center & The New Granada All-Stars
Creative Loafing - September 10, 2015
The Reel Deal film series, which pairs local bands with cred-heavy, culty or just plain favorite flicks at Ybor venue Crowbar, is slated to take on more classics as autumn progresses (Lost Boys and Fright Night on Oct. 22, The Last Waltz on Nov. 19, and Back To The Future on Dec. 17). The movie screened at 7:30 and then Rec Center and then the label’s all-star house band took on songs from the soundtrack. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Dining planner: Sushi Battle Tampa Bay, Columbia’s 1905 day on the horizon
Tampa Bay Times – September 9, 2015
Who has the best volcano roll in the area? You'll have to wait for the eruption on Sept. 24 to find out. Big City Events is putting on the first Sushi Battle Tampa Bay at the Ritz Ybor. On Sept. 20, the Columbia restaurants (but not Columbia Cafe on the Riverwalk) roll back their prices, this year to celebrate the 110th anniversary — making the original Ybor City location the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the state. Read more from the Tampa Bay Times:

Development manager Pardo made ‘mixed us’ Ybor’s mantra
Tampa Tribune – September 5, 2015
Ybor City carries on as it always does — the streetcar rumbles down the tracks, the air smells of coffee, cigar rollers shape tubes from brown leaves, people walk from home to work in red brick buildings nearby. Behind the hum of daily life, though, things are very different. The change rippled into public view last week when a giant photo of Vince Pardo was draped over the iconic sign that rises high above the Centro Ybor complex along Eighth Avenue. The gesture marked the retirement of a native son who helped turn the once beer-soaked Latin district into a Tampa gem. Read more from the Tampa Tribune.

Tampa on economic roll with thousands of new jobs on the way
Tampa Tribune – September 5, 2015
The scent of flame retardant hangs where it once smelled like fresh popcorn, and the sounds of power tools and shouting construction workers have replaced the explosions of the summer blockbusters. Soon, more than 100 employees will be supporting Ashley Furniture’s e-commerce operations in the new workspace that replaces 10 vacant Carmike Cinemas theaters in Centro Ybor. The Ashley headquarters is one of more than 20 major job-producing relocations or expansions of businesses announced in the past year in Tampa and Hillsborough. Add another 30 from the previous year. Read more from Tampa Tribune.

The top 100 restaurants in Tampa Bay, according to Yelp
Tampa Bay Business Journal- August 31, 2015
Knowing how a restaurant ranks amongst others is an important piece of decisive information, especially coming right from the customer. Yelp has released the top 100 restaurants in the Bay region-and they might surprise you. Ybor City’s Al’s Finger Licking Good BBQ ranked 10th on its latest list. Read more from The Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Tampa Convention Center Houses Tourist Conference
The Tampa Tribune - August 28, 2015
Hillsborough County gets the spotlight next week when the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism opens at the Tampa Convention Center. More than 1,000 people in the travel industry — from hotel owners to booking agents, attraction marketers and cruise specialists — will converge on the city beginning Monday to collaborate on the latest travel trends. While they’re here, they’ll get the opportunity to visit a craft brewery, enjoy the history and flavors of Ybor City and check out some of the local attractions. Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

'1905 Day' offers rolled-back Columbia Restaurant prices
Creative Loafing - August 25, 2015
To celebrate its 110th anniversary, the Columbia Restaurant will feature yesteryear pricing on Sept. 20. From noon to 7 p.m., the Columbia Restaurant will showcase throwback prices on food and beverages during its annual 1905 Day. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Guavaween will again be a ticketed party in Ybor, with no parade
Tampa Bay Times - August 24, 2015
Guavaween will once again be a ticketed party at the Cuban Club in Ybor City instead of a raucous parade of sexy costumed revelers taking over the streets of Tampa's historic Latin district, party organizers revealed Monday. The party planners are back and this year it will be held on Oct. 24 and called Guavaween: Apocalypse. The scene will be set with a lot of post-apocalyptic steampunk fashion — think Mad Max. It will require tickets for entry, which go on sale this week at, starting at $12 and rising steadily to $25 as the event nears. VIP tickets will be $65-$85 for an open bar and VIP tent access. Prices are lower than they were last year. Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.

Coppertail Brewing to debut new beer at Oktoberfest Tampa
Tampa Tribune – August 23, 2015
With the Tampa area fast becoming the epicenter of craft beer production in Florida, it’s fitting that the upcoming sixth annual Oktoberfest Tampa 2015 will have its own signature beer for the first time. Coppertail Brewing Company, located in Ybor City, is brewing a German style dunkel (a dark lager) that will make its debut at the Oktoberfest in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park Oct. 9-11. Kent Bailey, owner of Coppertail, expects to produce more than 1,500 gallons of Tampa Oktoberfest Dunkel under the guidance of head brewer Casey Hughes. Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

Ignite Tampa gives speakers 5 minutes to spark a community movement
Tampa Bay Times – August 19, 2015
No politicians, politics or pitches. Just community. That's the focus of Ignite Tampa, an annual TED talk-style open mic night where people share their passions and visions for the Tampa Bay area. The Cuban Club in Ybor City will host more than 20 speakers from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Speakers have a five-minute time limit for presentations. Former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor will emcee the evening. Read more from Tampa Bay Times.

Just say “cheesesteak” at Ybor Eats
Creative Loafing – August 19, 2015
Located at 1604 N. 17th St. in a 314-square-foot building with an adjoining patio, Ybor Eats seemingly appeared overnight. Two or so weeks ago, Pollo Garden occupied the space, a 314-square-foot building with an adjoining patio at 1604 N. 17th St. In the decades before that, the building housed a full spectrum of eateries with ethnic and traditional cuisine. Read more from Creative Loafing.

Artist’s exhibition comes to HCC gallery
Tampa Tribune – August 19, 2015
A solo exhibition of Florida artist Carl Knickerbocker’s huge canvases and recent video shorts is now on display at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor School of Visual and Performing Arts Gallery. Knickerbocker lives in Oviedo and will give a gallery talk at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 3 as part of a reception from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The gallery is on the first floor of the Performing Arts Building, Palm Avenue and 15th Street. Read more from Tampa Tribune:

Ready to rum-ble? Summer of Rum fest returns to Ybor – August 13, 2015
The historic Cuban Club will be on island time Saturday when it hosts this year’s Summer of Rum festival from noon to 11 p.m. Rum aficionados and novices alike will be able to partake in more than a dozen concoctions, from pina coladas to brightly-colored daiquiris, crafted from over 26,000 ounces of rum. After all, it is National Rum Day. Read more from

Grab a Craft Beer at 5 Tampa Bay Area Brew Pubs
Tampa Bay Metro – August 13, 2015
METRO found five local breweries serving up cold, local brews in hip, casual settings. From the oldest, continuous running microbrewery in Florida, Dunedin Brewery, to the latest Ybor City brewery, Coppertail Brewing Co., it is trendy to gather and taste the local blends with friends. Read more from Tampa Bay Metro.

Shared history draws Ybor Chamber to Cuba
Tampa Tribune – August 11, 2015
Much of Ybor City’s historic architecture mimics Old Havana’s with its archways, balcony designs and tile work. Tampa’s Latin District was primarily built by Cuban immigrants who brought their native land to their new one. And Old Havana, a borough of the nation’s capital city, was once among the island’s most beloved sections. Now, with normalization of relations under way between the U.S. and Cuba after 50 years, representatives from Ybor City and Old Havana will meet to discuss their efforts at renewal. From Sept. 25-29 the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce will send a delegation to Cuba for a tour of Old Havana led by Cuban historian and architectural preservationist Eusebio Leal, renowned in Cuba for saving that borough’s centuries-old structures. Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

Community steps up to help Cephas’ Hot Shop reopen in Ybor
Tampa Tribune – August 11, 2015
You might expect a restaurant owner to encourage customers to order more. But Cephas Gilbert, owner Cephas’ Hot Shop Jamaican restaurant in Ybor City, has been known to tell his patrons they need to eat less. He has gone so far as to call them fat. Gilbert, 63, recently reopened his 33-year-old restaurant, Cephas’ Hot Shop Jamaican restaurant at 1701 E. Fourth Ave. in Ybor City after receiving cash and supplies from the community. Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

Ybor City Chamber Plans Havana Trip
WUSF Public Media – August 10, 2015
The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce is using renewed relations between the Obama Administration and government of Cuba to re-establish the link between the “Cigar City” and Havana. Larry Wilder is chairman of the chamber.  He said Havana and Ybor are a natural fit since the Cuban capital pretty much gave birth to Tampa's cigar industry when so many cigar workers moved here in the late 1800s. Read more from WUSF Public Media.

Rebirth in Ybor: Cephas’ Hot Shop is back in business
Creative Loafing – August 8, 2015
He is considered the wise sage of Ybor City, the protective older brother. And if you live anywhere along Fourth Avenue, he is your personal surveillance camera. Cephas Gilbert of Cephas' Hot Shop is many things to all people. Hand-painted signs at his neighborhood restaurant declare his mantras, the most prominent being: "Respect is due whether you are black or white." Read more from Creative Loafing.

Renovated Saunders Library to serve as community cornerstone of history
Tampa Bay Times – August 6, 2015
YBOR CITY — As Robert W. Saunders signed copies of his autobiography after a reading at the University of Tampa, dozens of students, faculty and community members swirled around the civil rights activist and leader. Fred Hearns, a protege of Saunders, realized at that 2000 event that Saunders was in the latter stages of a long and storied career. Read more from Tampa Bay Times.

Meals mark a milestone
Tampa Tribune – August 5, 2015
YBOR CITY — About 130 members of the Wilbert Davis Boys & Girls Club recently celebrated 100,000 meal donations with representatives of the Laser Spine Institute and Feeding America Tampa Bay. At the July 24 celebration, the children received a hot meal from the Boys & Girls Club and a backpack of food with five meals, compliments of Laser Spine Institute’s Give & Grub food truck. Tampa Bay mascot Thunderbug was on-site to celebrate the milestone. Read more from Tampa Tribune.

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