Make us your home page

Boats, blues and lots more planned at 17th annual Cotee River Seafest

Lauren Mitchell and her band will belt out the blues at the festival on Saturday.

Courtesy of Lauren Mitchell

Lauren Mitchell and her band will belt out the blues at the festival on Saturday.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Boats, seafood, mermaids and music will be among the highlights as the 17th annual Cotee River Seafest gets under way Friday for a three-day run in and around newly renovated Sims Park.

The festival, presented by Bright House Networks and New Port Richey Main Street, offers something for all in a somewhat different setting, said Judy DeBella Thomas, the event's coordinator. "With the new layout of the park, we're kind of excited with how everything is placed this year," Thomas said.

Central to the event is the boat and watercraft show, featuring about 40 vessels on display alongside the Pithlachas­cotee River, where folks can also hop aboard the Miss Daisy for a river ride.

For landlubbers and art lovers, there's a rambling arts and crafts show that will start at the park entrance and wind alongside the newly placed walkways. Pasco Camera Exchange will display entries submitted in its annual photography contest, with winners to be announced Saturday. The West Pasco Art Guild will host an "Only Natural" art exhibit in Peace Hall, adjacent to the new playground area.

Following along the marine theme will be presentations by Capt. William Mayhem, a pirate/magician/storyteller from St. Augustine and commander of his traveling museum. Back by popular demand will be the Weeki Wachee mermaids.

Hurricane Expo 2016, presented by the Pasco County Office of Emergency Management, will take place Saturday for those wanting information and resources on how to prepare for hurricane season.

Special activities Sunday will include a classic car show, the Cardboard Boat Regatta Race and "Ducktona," the annual rubber duck race to raise funds for A.F.I.R.E. of Pasco County, a nonprofit organization that serves developmentally disabled adults.

There will be no shortage of activities to keep kids busy. Participants should wear appropriate attire, including sneakers, for the rock-climbing wall and "water wear" for a new activity called Water Wars and the new splash pad alongside Orange Lake.

As for music, the Greg Billings Band will headline the Friday night concert. Also featured will be local talent SPF 40 and the Bob Hope Band, offering classic rock with a bit of an edge. Saturday and Sunday promise to be a treat for blues lovers.

Saturday's lineup includes national touring artist Chris Duarte, who will bring his eclectic version of Texas blues to Florida. Also playing will be local blues bands Troy Youngblood and the Soulfish, Shawline and the Lauren Mitchell Band.

Sunday will feature longtime favorite Sarasota Slim and the rising Betty Fox Band, named Best of the Bay and International Blues Challenge finalists for 2015.

Contact Michele Miller at or at (727) 869-6251. Follow @MicheleMiller52.

>>if you go

Cotee River Seafest

The Cotee River Seafest, presented by Bright House Networks and New Port Richey Main Street, will be from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in and around Sims Park in downtown New Port Richey. Admission is free.

Boats, blues and lots more planned at 17th annual Cotee River Seafest 04/20/16 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2016 10:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A new study says french fries could kill you, but is that accurate?


    Hey, you, reading this story over a pile of french fries: Back slowly away from the crispy spuds. They're out to get you.

  2. Pasco libraries offer relief from the heat with reading programs, activities


    HOLIDAY — Angelina Ponzo has a goal this summer: to read as many books as possible.

    Alexis Ponzo, left, uses watercolor crayons to draw a heart tattoo on her daughter Angelina's arm during a recent summer reading program event at Centennial Park Library in Holiday. Local libraries are hosting reading programs and a variety of educational, entertaining and family friendly events throughout the summer months.
  3. Want to feel old? It's been 20 years since the first 'Harry Potter' was published


    He was so cute: Blond hair, blue eyes and a killer smile. He was dressed in a black robe with a fake scar on his forehead and regaling our fifth-grade class with his book report on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As a 10-year-old with only the most sophisticated of tastes (give me a Baby-Sitters Club any day), …

    An auctioneer holds a first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" containing annotations and illustrations by author J.K. Rowling. The tale has turned 20,  published in Britain on June 26, 1997. Since then, it has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages. (Associated Press [2013])
  4. Restaurant review: Deccan Spice in Feather Sound is a gateway to the allures of Indian cuisine

    Food & Dining


    Feather Sound's Tru Lounge, which was Flo Lounge before that, morphed into Grand Siam in 2012, a giant Thai restaurant owned by the folks who had Ban Thai restaurants in Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon and Lakeland. It was lavish with dramatic fluted chandeliers and a long, polished wood sushi bar, but it …

    Some of the selections at a recent lunch buffet at Deccan Spice included chicken biryani, gobi masala and murgh masala.
  5. From the food editor: Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders will be your new favorite go-to


    I decided my almond chicken obsession was becoming a bit much.

    Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.