Make us your home page

Have a blast in downtown New Port Richey


Music, food, a good old-fashioned trolley pull, fireworks and the promise of two days of family fun fill an early kickoff to America's Independence Day celebration at the annual Friendly Kia Fest Main Street Blast today and Saturday at Sims Park downtown.

The event, traditionally held the last weekend of June so volunteers can enjoy the Fourth of July holiday with family and friends, and sponsors can get an early-bird discount on fireworks, will be chock-full of new and traditional offerings.

"The music is just killer," Judy DeBella Thomas said.

Local opening acts include the Bob Hope Band and High Energy Band followed by the Black Honkeys, headlining tonight's festivities.

People can expect lots of what the band calls "dirty roadhouse music," said Black Honkeys front man Phillip Esposito, whose delivery is reminiscent of lead singer Peter Wolf from the J. Geils Band. "We definitely pay homage to J. Geils," Esposito said, adding that sets will be filled with a fun mix of soul, rhythm and blues and good old rock 'n' roll featuring covers of songs by the Spinners, the O'Jays the Four Tops, Rolling Stones, Gladys Knight, Sly and the Family Stone and more.

Come Saturday night, SPF 40 and That '70s Band will start things off, followed by a "Jersey Shore comes to Main Street" kind of lineup featuring Bon Jovi and Springsteen tribute bands Keep the Faith and the Boss Project.

New events this year are the Office Olympics with competitive activities such as wastebasket basketball, team tug-of-war and a cellphone relay. Other inaugural offerings include corn hole games and the Walgreens/Kia Trolley Tow (1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the park) with proceeds going to "Team Be the Match," a nationwide organization that assists patients in need of bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplants. That event comes with a $500 cash prize and bragging rights for the winning team. Veterans and current military members are also welcome to jump on board to add a little weight to the event.

Festivalgoers can take a stroll through the traditional arts and crafts and commercial vendors area and check out the rides at the Sunset Corvette and Classic Car Cruise-In lined up around Orange Lake.

Little ones can burn off some energy in the Kids Zone with activities such as face painting, bounce houses, pony rides, a petting zoo and more.

Members of the Sunset Corvette Club will be collecting donations for Toys for Tots for those who want to get a head start on their winter holiday giving. Altruistic attendees can also pick up a free T-shirt, a $5 coupon for Outback Steakhouse and get a free wellness check by giving blood at the Oneblood donation bus (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday).

Fireworks will be set off at about 9 to 9:15 p.m. Saturday.

Michele Miller can be reached at

.if you go

Main Street Blast

5 to 11 p.m. today and 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Sims Park in downtown New Port Richey. For information, visit

Have a blast in downtown New Port Richey 06/25/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 27, 2014 10:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Prep meals for a week with tacos, pork tenderloin and rosemary chicken


    Some see a resemblance to Japan's popular bento boxes. Some just call it meal prepping. And some prefer to think of it as bringing lunch to work in Tupperware containers.

    For simple meal prep, you can’t go wrong with this classic: ground beef tacos, black beans and homemade Spanish rice.
  2. 'Swag Surfin' producer: 'It's very weird… they're still playing the song' eight years later

    Music & Concerts


    Kevin Erondu doesn't often go to night clubs. Yet, across America, he drives people to the dance floor. He's 31 years old, but he still has the ear of college students, and while he's no pro athlete, they leap to their feet when he joins them in the gym.

    Originally from Dade City, music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, rose to prominence after creating the beat to Swag Surfin’, a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.
  3. 5 things to do under $5: Type artists, shuffleboard, toy train show, Wildflower Walk


    1 Letterheads Typefest: The muralists who run Illsol Space, a gallery in Tampa Heights, said their respect for handmade fonts and sign painting techniques moved them to curate this exhibit featuring type-based muralists, hand-style lettering designers, sign painters, letterpress studios and type designers. …

    Colm O’Connor, a Dublin sign writer, is among the 22 artists featured in the Letterheads Typefest exhibit at the Illsol Space gallery.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 23


    The Art of the Brick: An elaborate display of more than 100 pieces of Lego artwork including the life sized sculpture of a man ripping open his chest, a 20-foot-long T. rex skeleton, a giant skull and replicas of famous works including Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona …

    Nathan Sawaya with a sculpture from his The Art of the Brick exhibition coming to Tampa June 23- Sept. 4. It will be open for free Wednesdays through Sundays,  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 802 E Whiting Street, Tampa. No tickets are required.[Courtesy  of the Art of the Brick]
  5. I give you a fish, you give me back my man


    The B-52s are a band with such a distinct visual look that you could tell it was them with just a glimpse of a picture. But was it always beehives and bright clothes for the hipsters from Athens? You can find the different looks of the B-52s in their video for the irresistible Give Me Back My Man.