Thursday, May 24, 2018
Events

Chasco Fiesta 2013 has something for everyone

Main Street was still a stretch of dirt when the first Chasco Fiesta rolled out, offering the lure of the sparkling Pithlachascotee River and a "Spanish Explorers verses Calusa Indians" fictional pageant to raise money for the community library.

That festival, held in early March of 1922 and featured in the New Port Richey Press, was deemed a gala affair. Sidewalks were teeming and parking spaces scarce during three days of celebration that featured a street parade of decked out Ford Model T's and the like, the crowning of a Queen Chasco and Prince Pithla and a couple of cabaret shows that raised $381 for the cause and featured a lineup of singing, dancing and comedy. Only one casualty was reported, when a high wire act ended unfortunately, resulting in two fractured ribs for the performer, Art Dacomo.

The Chasco Fiesta has grown in fits and starts since then, swelling from three days to two weeks of fun while also drawing some controversy for such things as the depiction of American Indians, a bead tossing ban and funding for the event during tough economic times. Held annually since 1947, Chasco has melded some of the old with the new, keeping the popular street and boat parades and moving toward a more artful and realistic celebration of American Indian culture with a traditional pow wow held in Sims Park.

Today's fest crowns a queen and king, giving a nod to two leading philanthropists at a black tie ball that benefits Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind, while downtown New Port Richey offers the grittier thrill of spinning carnival rides and a wafting mix of barbecue, fried dough, cotton candy and a whole lot of music.

Chasco Fiesta 2013 is a nine-day festival that kicks off next week with two major events. American Indian dancers from throughout the country will celebrate a three-day pow wow that starts at 5 p.m. April 5, along with a night of Christian contemporary music held at the Sims Park amphitheater and the opening of the midway on Bank Street. Meanwhile, it will be formal attire for attendees of the 28th annual Chasco Coronation Ball. That gets under way at 6 p.m. April 5 at Spartan Manor in New Port Richey.

Some 80,000 spectators are expected to line the streets with the plea for "beads!" on April 6 as 140 floats and a multitude of pirate krewes, school bands, local civic groups and organizations participate in the second largest street parade in the Tampa Bay area. On April 13 boaters will show off their decorated rides with a float down the Pithlachascotee River in what is touted as the state's oldest boat parade.

Sports enthusiasts are welcome to take in a charity round of golf, softball or bowling at various venues, or run the Main Street Mile on April 6.

Music lovers will be treated to a rather eclectic blend featuring a daily genre at the Sims Park Amphitheater. Think country, blue grass, blues, patriotic tunes, oldies, rock 'n' roll tributes and some youthful singers, too.

Of special note, and well worth coming out for: Southern Hospitality (Damon Fowler, JP Soars and Victor Wainwright) playing selections from their latest CD release, Easy Living, on Blues Masters Night (April 11) with New Port Richey singer/songwriter Julie Black. New to the venue is the crowd pleasing, can't help but get up and dance, Black Honkeys belting out Motown covers on True Oldies Night (April 12). Concerts are free, except for the Country Concert on April 13, featuring Randy Houser and the Henningsens. (Cost for tickets is $10-$20 advance/$15-25 day of.)

Comments
Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

TAMPA — The Ballet Nacional de Cuba performed Giselle, its signature ballet, on Wednesday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Fifty-four dancers charmed a packed house, culminating in about two hours an effort that took more tha...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Bar review: Things are hopping at new Swan Brewing in Lakeland

Lakeland’s a little out of the way, but I’m always eager to check out the bar scene there when passing through or attending an event. Every place I’ve visited just seems so pleasant.I regret missing the boat on the city’s first brewery, Lakeland Brew...
Updated: 1 hour ago
tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

tbt* local craft beer of the week: Dark Harbor Mocha Stout, Sea Drift Ales & Lagers

The saga of Barley Mow Brewing Company and its eventual offshoot/successor Sea Drift Ales & Lagers is a complicated one. The most interesting part is how the latter came to be as a result of brewery-distributor tensions, in which Barley Mow pulled an...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmon’s was a meeting place

It’s where former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams had lunch with current Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.It’s where University of South Florida fans often gathered to watch the program’s biggest road games.It’s where folks showed up in...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Review: Family matters in David Sedaris’ ‘Calypso’

Review: Family matters in David Sedaris’ ‘Calypso’

David Sedaris gets right to the point in the opening of the first essay in his new book, Calypso: "Though there’s an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age. The only perk I can see is that, with luck, you’ll ac...
Published: 05/24/18
Review: Strait-laced writer Michael Pollan explores psychedelics, and leaves the door of perception ajar

Review: Strait-laced writer Michael Pollan explores psychedelics, and leaves the door of perception ajar

Microdosing is hot. If you haven’t heard — but you probably have, from reports of its use at Silicon Valley workplaces, from Ayelet Waldman’s memoir A Really Good Day, from dozens of news stories — to microdose is to take small amounts of LSD, which ...
Published: 05/24/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on May 25

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on May 25

Redneck Riviera Whiskey Tasting: Country hitmaker John Rich, of Big and Rich, will be at Gaspar’s to host a tasting and bottle signing of his Redneck Riviera Whiskey. A percentage of sales will go to Folds of Honor, which provides scholarships to chi...
Published: 05/24/18
9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

It’s hard not to think of the Forrest Gump line: "One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months." If you are looking for something to do while the current deluge continues, we have some suggestions. There are obvious choices, like ma...
Published: 05/24/18
Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

LIME TIME: Tampa Bay Margarita Festival This year, there are twice the bartenders and a new RFID wristband system for less waiting at the two-day Tampa Bay Margarita Festival with a margarita flavor for every taste. Music headliners are the Wallflow...
Published: 05/23/18
Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Our editors' picks for things to do this weekend.
Published: 05/23/18