NEW PORT RICHEY
The big festival is finally here, with Chasco Fiesta launching into nine nights of live music in Sims Park. The lineup features a mix of rising stars, crowd favorites and tribute bands across an array of musical genres: oldies, bluegrass, country, classic rock and Christian. So there's something for everyone.
A lot of the themed nights have a dedicated following, said Chasco executive director Wendy Brenner. "There are some folks that just come for bluegrass. … Our largest attended event last year was the doo-wop music on True Oldies Night. That's always been a good night for us: Folks in that 50s and 60s age group like that kind of music, and we don't charge a lot of money."
And of course the Country Concert is always a big hit, she said.
Chasco Fiesta is Pasco's oldest, largest and longest festival, filled with booths and events to raise money for local nonprofits. The festivities also include the huge street parade (1 p.m. Saturday); a flea market and arts and crafts village (Saturday and Sunday); the Native American Dance Competition (grand entries at 7 p.m. today, 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and noon Sunday); a car, truck and bike show (Sunday); a carnival; athletic contests; barbecues; food vendors; a boat parade (1 p.m. April 2); and the coronation of Queen Chasco and King Pithla (tonight).
The activities provide a good time at no cost, aside from the tickets required for the carnival rides and three of the concerts. And most important, they draw thousands to downtown New Port Richey to patronize fundraising booths and activities for more than 30 nonprofits, ranging from the American Cancer Society to West Pasco Sertoma.
"We don't want to lose sight of the reason we do this, and that is to raise money for the nonprofits," Brenner said. "If we didn't have the entertainment we did, there would be nothing to bring (people) down to the park."
All concerts are at the Sims Park Amphitheater, 6341 Bank St., in downtown New Port Richey. Concerts are free unless otherwise noted.