big guava festival - and tampa road trip tips

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this weekend, we headed to Tampa for Big Guava Festival a first year festival on the Florida State Fairgrounds where there were free carnival rides and a lineup that included OutKast, Vampire Weekend, HAIM (who we saw for the second time this week after a truly rockin' show at The Fillmore), Slightly Stoopid, Cake, Tegan and Sara and more.

It had the vibe of the Dade County Youth Fair with a really stellar set of musical acts and the kind of go-with-the-flow of any major first year event. There was a light, steady drizzle and gray skies all day Friday and Saturday and it was surprisingly cold - I packed for a sweaty Florida weekend and was freezing the whole time. I couldn't bring myself to give in and buy a $50 Vampire Weekend sweatshirt. 

All these bumps made the festival all the more nice. 

The major concert spaces were an inside auditorium where you can easily imagine a state cattle show and an outdoor amphitheater. It was very "Florida" in the best way possible, the same kind of wacky Florida that we see every time there's a strange story on the news involving "Florida Man."

The drive was long and made longer when we were robbed at a gas station on 8th Street and 132nd Avenue before hoping on the Tamiami for the more scenic and highly recommended route up the west coast of Florida. You'll pass Everglades airboat stands, the Skunk Ape Research Center (Florida's own swamp dwelling bigfoot), and the smallest post office in the country. It's beautiful and strange and feels right out of Adaptation or Swamplandia

When in Tampa, we had to hit up Cigar City for our annual pilgrammage. Read all about last year's visit here. If you go - get the Cualquier Double IPA in the tasting room. 

On the way up, we stopped for lunch in Bonita Springs, a cute little beach town right outide of Naples. A little Yelping took up to The Fish House, a little, well, fish house on a canal where they had a stellar grouper reuben. 

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The Fish House, Bonita Springs

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a speak peek at the tap room in Cigar City. The screens are filled with beers that never make it outside of this room. If you're a beer snob and you haven't been, you aren't really a beer snob. 

 

planning a trip to Bonnaroo this year? Read our guide before you go.