Pasco County's Chasco Fiesta starts down the stretch today in New Port Richey with the final four days of the 11-day festival filled with music, races on land and water, Florida's oldest boat parade, several new special events, and the colorful Native American Festival.
Music, music, music: Former Ray Charles Band member Guitar Shorty will headline the Rhythm and Bluesmasters show ($5) from 6 to 10 p.m. today in Sims Park in downtown New Port Richey, with opening acts Damon Fowler and Bone Yard Dogs. From 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, the Dixie Cups (Iko Iko, Chapel of Love) top the bill for True Oldies Night ($5), with Legends of Doo Wop and Tommy Mara opening. The Chasco Country Concert is at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, with headliners Jimmy Wayne (Stay Gone, I Love You That Much) and Jason Michael Carroll (Alyssa Lies, Livin' Out Love Song) and opening acts Wiley Fox and Suite Caroline ($25-$30).
The Chasco Boat Parade on the Pithlachascotee River is at 1 p.m. Saturday, starting in Miller's Bayou just east of U.S. 19, meandering along the New Port Richey linear park, south to Sims Park. A new feature is live bands aboard many boats in "Musical Madness." Top prize is $2,500.
The Native American Festival continues in Sims Park with American Indians giving talks on tribal history, customs and crafts, and dancers, all on the half-hour from 6:30 to 9 p.m. today, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. There will also be American Indian arts, crafts, toys, clothing, music and food for sale.
Other events on Saturday: Kayak races on the Cotee River at 9 a.m.; foot races and bicycle tours in Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park at 8 a.m.; and the Boy Scouts of America Pinewood Derby at 9 a.m. and Chasco Wine and Art Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., both around Orange Lake adjacent to Sims Park .
To reach Sims Park/Orange Lake, take U.S. 19 to New Port Richey, go east on Main Street and over the Pithlachascotee River bridge. Sims Park is on the north side of Main Street on the banks of the river.
For details, go to chascofiesta.com or call (727) 842-7651.
Barbara L. Fredricksen, Times staff writer