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dish_banThe Tampa Citizen Police Academy: Week 8

WOW, did the 8 weeks of classes go by fast! We made great new friends and have a new respect for our Tampa police officers. We hope that you also enjoyed following our experiences in the citizen police academy.

Tampa’s famed Chief of Police, Jane Castor, District Majors, staff, students, family and friends were all there for our special graduation ceremony.

Thanks to the Columbia Restaurant who catered the graduation event with a special menu and a graduation cake. The newly appointed citizen police officers and their families laughed at the videos the corporal made during our weekly seminars. Tasing, police car chases, shooting, SWAT team exercise and our ride alongs were in the funny moments DVD.

To participate in next spring’s Citizen Police Academy, contact Tampa Police’s special events department.

Lighting of the Holiday Tree

Once again, the community has come together in Ybor City for the holidays. The 34-foot elaborately-decorated Christmas tree in Centro Ybor was officially lit by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn last Wednesday to a packed crowd.

The organizers of “Ybor City Holiday Spirit,” Mathieu Stanoch and D. Stephen Moss with their non-profit, “One Tin Soldier Productions,” are heading up a full assortment of activities throughout historic Ybor City. Last year’s parade in the snow had over 25,000 parade attendees. The holiday parade is larger this year with 14 high school bands, floats and local political leaders, and of course Santa Claus!  A crowd of over 45,000 residents and tourists are expected. It is a real community holiday affair and holiday experience for all members of the family.

This is the third year for Ybor City Holiday Spirit and the 7th Avenue parade with snow. It is also the seventh year of decorating Ybor City (started by GaYBOR District Coalition in 2007).

Last Sunday hundreds of volunteers helped decorate Ybor City by putting up holiday garland and decorations on all the historic Ybor lamp posts.

The next big open Holiday event will be the “Snow on 7th Holiday Parade” on December 14th at 6 p.m. Please plan on attending.

You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up! KiKiKi III Sold!

The oldest gay bar in Tampa, The KiKiKi III, was sold this past week. We understand the building was purchased at an auction by the engineering company next door. The KiKiKi I was downtown where the bus station is today. The KiKiKi II was just a few blocks away in the downtown area. The KiKiKi III was at 1908 W, Kennedy Blvd. for over 30 years. Many of us jokingly called The KiKiKi “the Frat House.”

The one thing you could say about The KiKiKi is that they were “consistent.” Our very first time at the KiKiKi II was in 1980. We had just moved to Tampa from Minneapolis to go to USF. Minneapolis was at least 10 years ahead of Tampa in those days. It was Gasparilla and we went to our first gay bar in Tampa to watch the parade.

The parade was winding its way through downtown Tampa. Inside the dark wood-planked bar there were two guys shooting up drugs in the men’s room. Mark said “That’s it, we are moving back to Minneapolis today!” 34 years later and we are still in Tampa. I guess Carrie won that one.dish_last

Over the years we made many good friends at The KiKiKi. The owner was Cesar R. and the manager was Stevie. Cesar’s brother was the famous Rene who owned the Kennedy Boulevard gay show bar “Rene’s.” There are many fun stories about The KiKiKi.

Everybody always said, “The KiKiKi has the wildest floor show in Tampa Bay and it doesn’t even have a floor show! If you sit in there long enough, you would see everybody walk through the doors of The KiKiKi!”

 

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