Music will be in the air Saturday in this city that takes pride in its cultural treasures. • So will the aroma of food from around the world as the Sponge Docks Merchants Association hosts the Tarpon Springs International FoodFest, and the city hosts an evening of Greek regional and popular music, complete with dinner. • A third event won't include food, but it will have plenty of music as the Tarpon Springs Community Choir performs a gospel concert.
Throughout the day
The Tarpon Springs International FoodFest kicks into high gear at 10 a.m. Saturday on the Sponge Docks. With a variety of cuisines from around the world, the expo and food festival joins the musical celebration with four featured bands.
The bands will offer sounds as diverse as the food.
Espree deKor, Taboo, Fusion Music Experience and the Trio will perform throughout the venue that runs along Dodecanese Boulevard from Athens Street to Roosevelt Boulevard.
The music, including pop, rhythm and blues, hip hop, Latin flavor, jazz and '70s, '80s and '90s sounds, are aimed at pleasing different generations and musical tastes.
Little ones can have their faces painted and jump around in bounce houses. More than 50 vendors will sell fine arts, crafts, jewelry, clothing and knickknacks.
"This is a great event for the family, and it's free," said Scott Meehan, event planner. "We're trying to bring more people to the Tarpon Springs area from all around Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and surrounding counties."
Evening Part I
Saturday night's Greek Music Performance and Dance will include the lusty rhythms of rebetika, known as Greek blues.
"Greece has produced an incredible variety of traditional, popular and art music," said Tina Bucuvalas, event organizer. "A few people are aware of the rich history of this music, but many are not.
"So the event will do two things: offer a great night of music and dance, and present the audience with a little bit more about the music. Musicians have been selected who will be able to represent music from different Greek regions or cities."
The musical event, suitable for all ages, will be at the Kalymnian House, which can hold a few hundred people.
There is a large area for dancing and an enclosed patio with tables for dining or listening to music. Two entrees, stuffed grape leaves or lamb with manestra, will be available for anyone wanting to buy dinner.
The music ensemble will be led by Georgos Soffos, who has entertained audiences in Greek clubs, restaurants and events throughout the world.
Nicholas Matsis learned Greek clarinet from master musicians in Chicago, playing in clubs and social organizations for more than 30 years. Emmanuel Gonatos performs locally with Odyssey Band, plays bouzouki and baglamas (string instruments) and sings.
Dino Theofilos plays keyboard for Ellada, but was a member of the Fabulous Grecian Keys of Warren, Ohio, and has performed throughout the United States and abroad.
"Last March, we presented an evening of music from the Dodecanese Islands at the Kalymnian House," said Bucuvalas. "It was so successful that people stayed and the musicians played after the sound crew had to pack up and go."
Evening Part II
Also Saturday night, the Tarpons Springs Community Choir will perform a gospel concert at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center.
The group, comprised of members from three Tarpon Springs churches, rehearses Thursdays and performs for many area celebrations and venues.
"The first time I heard the choir sing was at a church service, and I was blown away by the sound," said Kathleen Monahan, director of Tarpon Springs Cultural Treasures.
She is excited about the performance and bringing the group to the Performing Arts Center for the first time.
"I think this choir is one of the best-kept secrets in Tarpon Springs," she said. "Their music is amazing, and I thought it was about time that the people in the area heard them."