Tampa locals and tourists were treated to the celebration of culture and history during the 71st annual Fiesta Day in Ybor City Historic District.
The street festival consists of live music, local foods, arts and crafts, games and raffles. Musicians and vendors come to share their rich, cultural heritage with those who attend.
“Like every other year, the 71st annual Fiesta Day festival is free and open to the public,” said Deb Hargreaves, the Event Coordinator at the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce.
“Fiesta Day also celebrates the ‘Best of Ybor’ with all of our food, music and activities,” said Hargreaves.
Ybor City’s Fiesta Day originally began as a day of rest for the cigar workers who settled in what was also known as the Cigar City Capital of the World in the early 1900s.
With the arrival of immigrants who worked in the cigar factories or started their own businesses, Ybor City emerged as Tampa’s ethnic melting pot.
“Fiesta Day celebrates our city’s culture, heritage and cuisine,” said Hargreaves. “It’s one of the best traditions that we get to celebrate in Ybor.”
Some local vendors come to sell their handcrafted pieces of art, clothing and jewelry. While others advertise their small businesses and sell handmade soaps, lotions, jellies and jams.
This year, the street festival took place along Seventh Avenue. During the time of the festival, held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., several streets are closed off.
“Our entertainment this year is presented by The Gaucho Association of Tampa, Centro Ybor and the Krewe of Mambi,” said Hargreaves. “We also have a break-dancing show, live music, a book fair, a parade show, entertainers and many different performances.”
Fiesta Day celebrates the Cuban, African-Cuban, Italian, Spanish, Jewish and German immigrants who came to Ybor City to work in the factories, create businesses and start their new lives.
Not only do Ybor City’s converted cigar factories now serve as a marketplace of shopping, dining and entertainment, they also define the history and growth of Tampa.
“We expect to attract as many as 10,000 attendees of family and people of all ages,” said Hargreaves.
The Fiesta Day street festival is sponsored by many companies such as HCC Ybor Campus, TECO Energy, GTE Financial, Creative Loafing, Bainbridge Ybor City, La Segunda Central Bakery and BB&T.
Ybor City looks forward to bringing even more of the diverse culture and history to the Fiesta Day in the years to come.