Blues, boats and barbecue

At the Cotee River festival, you can also dance to the beat, race in a kayak and let the kids check out "Fishing for Laughs."

Published May 11, 2007

Boats, seafood, barbecue, smoked turkey legs, sweets, classic cars, games for kids, arts and crafts, kayak races, fishing seminars and music, music, music.

That's what makes up the seventh annual Cotee River Seafood Festival and Boat Show today through Sunday in and around Sims Park in New Port Richey.

The musical highlight happens when bluesman Bill "Sauce Boss" Wharton takes the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday during the Blues by the River Concert ($5 bring-your-own-chair or $7 with chairs provided), preceded by Corey Harris and the 5 x 5 Band. Their sets follow a full day of music by local and regional groups (see schedule).

Wharton is known for cooking up a big pot of gumbo on stage as he plays his Mississippi National steel guitar, then dancing through the audience to give out samples.

Harris appeared in director Martin Scorcese's PBS documentary film, Feel Like Going Home, as a young musician learning the roots of blues while on a visit to Africa.

But his show isn't all that's going on.

The action starts at 5 p.m. today with the "60s Flower Power Music" concert featuring the Shaguars playing music from the British Invasion, or, as they say, "songs by everyone from the Animals to the Zombies," including the Beatles. Also playing is '60s Groove, which does tributes to the Doors, the Byrds and the Rolling Stones, among others.

Sunday features music all day in the Rockin' by the River Concert, featuring Late Night Brass.

Meanwhile, there is plenty going on throughout Sims Park, on the Cotee River and around Orange Lake.

Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday are the arts and crafts village, the boat show, 45-minute Cotee River tours aboard the Miss Daisy pontoon boat, kids' games, and several presentations of the kids' show "Fishing For Laughs" by Curt "The Bassmeister" Strutz (first show at noon).

On Saturday, there are two kayak races at 10 a.m.

The one for fun starts at the boat ramp behind the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce building just off Main Street. There will be kayaks for rent, or you can bring your own.

The other one, for serious kayakers, starts at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, heads toward the mouth of the Cotee River and finishes at Sims Park. Call Salt Springs Alliance at (727) 816-1890 for details.

Also on Saturday is the Suncoast Corvette Club's Classic Car Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Circle Boulevard by Sims Park. Registration is $15 from 9 a.m. to noon on the day of the show. Winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m.

If you go

Revelry by the river

What: Cotee River Seafood Festival and Boat Show and the Blues by the River Concert.

Where: Sims Park, New Port Richey.

When: 5 to 11 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Cost: Free. A $2 donation will be requested. Ticket required for Blues by the River Concert ($5 bring-your-own-chair; or $7 with seating provided), starting at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday's music lineup

10:30 a.m. to noon: Lazy Boys & the Rockers.

12:15 to 1:45 p.m.: Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues

2 to 3:30 p.m.: Back Alley Blues Band

(Note: admission charge starts at 3:30 p.m.)

4 to 5 p.m.: John Allen & the Cotton Gin Band

5:45 to 7 p.m.: Julie Black and Angel for Blues

7:15 to 8:45 p.m.: Corey Harris and the 5 x 5 Band

9 to 10:30 p.m.: Bill "Sauce Boss" Wharton