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Name your interest: The Chasco Fiesta delivers

photo
[Times photo: Brendan Fitterer]
The large crowd gathered for the parade spills into the street last year in New Port Richey during the Chasco Fiesta.

By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 7, 2002


An 80-year old recipe for success combines music, entertainment and oh, yes, plenty of food.

NEW PORT RICHEY -- The 80-year-old Chasco Fiesta in Sims Park today through March 17 really is one of those festivals with something for everyone.

Interested in Native Americana? The Native American Festival today through Sunday attracts members of many tribes from across the country. There are tribal dance competitions with $10,000 in prize money, educational wildlife displays, handcrafts, jewelry, storytelling and native foods (ever try fry bread?). Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Also on Saturday, the local Junior League has an Indian Village with handcrafts for kids from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Enjoy music? There's free, live music and entertainment at 6 p.m. Friday through March 17, highlighted by a performance by the legendary Bo Diddley at the Rhythm & Bluesmasters concert from 6 to 11 p.m. on March 14.

For $20 ($30 for prime seating) on March 16, you can hear country stars Joe Diffie, Rascal Flatts, Phil Vassar, 3 of Hearts and local favorite Wiley Fox at the Chasco Country Concert. Call (727) 842-7651 for tickets.

Into arts and crafts? More than 60 artists and craftsmakers will be at the Chasco Arts Fiesta 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 16, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 17.

photo
[AP photo]
Bo Diddley will perform from 6 to 11 p.m. March 14.
Crazy for parades? Come to the big street parade at 1 p.m. Saturday and/or the boat parade at approximately 1 p.m. March 16, depending on the tides.

Into races? You can watch the River Raft Race on the Pithlachascotte River by Sims Park at 1 p.m. Sunday or sign up for the Chasco Fun Run, the 5K inline skate race or the bicycle tour at Green Key Park (go west off U.S. 19 on Green Key Road, one block north of Main Street) at 7 a.m. on March 16. Start time is 8 a.m.

Love carnival rides? There are plenty around Orange Lake during festival hours.

Other highlights in Sims Park are a car and truck show on Sunday, bluegrass music at 6 p.m. Monday, a corned beef and cabbage dinner on March 14, a fish fry from 4 to 8 p.m. March 15, and a Christian music concert at 6 p.m. March 15.

A few blocks away at the New Port Richey Recreation Center, there's a baby contest on Sunday, a flea market from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and a stamp show for dealers, hobbyists and anyone interested in stamps from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 16 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 17.

But what if you're a foodie? Bring your appetite. The big West Pasco Sertoma Beef Barbecue, which once made the Guinness Book of World Records, offers bounteous plates of ribs and roast with all the trimmings for $7 today through Sunday. On Saturday and Sunday and on March 16 and 17, the Cotee River Lions serve a pancake, scrambled egg and sausage breakfast for $2.50 from 8 to 11 a.m. and then, March 16 and 17, start serving barbecued chicken for $6.50 a plate.

Beside that, there are many other booths, serving everything from hamburgers to funnel cakes, most of them operated by school and civic organizations.

In fact, Chasco is all about raising money while having fun. Hundreds of volunteers from 35 civic, service and social groups depend on the huge event to help raise funds for their charities.

For details on all events, the Web site is www.chascofiesta.net. To reach the Chasco Fiesta, take U.S. 19 to New Port Richey, turn east on Main Street, go two blocks. Sims Park is on the left. Free off-site parking and shuttle service is available every 30 minutes on Sunset Road off U.S. 19, half mile north of Main Street.

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