Make us your home page

Main Street Blast lights up New Port Richey June 28-29

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 15th annual Friendly Kia Fest/Main Street Blast serves up some early Fourth of July fun this weekend with live music, a children's area, an arts and crafts show, a classic car cruise-in, boat tours on the Cotee River, food, beer, and, of course, fireworks shows Friday and Saturday at Sims Park downtown.

Related News/Archive

The musical lineup boasts a host of classic rock acts, kicking off at 7 p.m. Friday with Circle Sky, followed by headliner the Black Honkeys at 9 p.m.

"The Black Honkeys faithfully re-create the sound, energy and excitement of soul, Motown and R&B," said True Oldies 106.3 managing partner Steve Schurdell, who helped Greater New Port Richey Main Street with this year's lineup. "They already have a huge following in Hillsborough and Pinellas, and we introduced this area to the band at our True Oldies Chasco Night. The show was awesome and the crowd was standing-room only."

The Black Honkeys' Chasco Fiesta performance was their first in New Port Richey. Band member Phil Esposito enjoyed the ambience of Sims Park and Orange Lake.

"If you want an Americana, Main Street, hometown vibe, that's the place," Esposito said. "It's just great down there."

The seasoned musicians have been together about 12 years and pride themselves on great music and high energy. Esposito says he often wakes up sore the next day from jumping off speakers.

"I can guarantee the show will be awesome," Esposito said. "The environment that the show is happening in will be awesome. And if the people came out like they did for Chasco, the audience will be awesome."

On Saturday, the live music continues at 1 p.m. with Cody's Camp Revival (a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band), followed by an evening concert featuring Eric Anderson Band, Velvet Jones and finishing off with Head Games — the Foreigner Tribute, which will play during the fireworks show.

Head Games is flying in from New York to play their first Florida show. The band members double as studio musicians who have worked on various commercials, radio jingles and movie soundtracks. Lead singer and founding member Mike Ledesma trains in vocal mastery with an opera coach to keep his voice strong enough to sing all of the songs in their original key.

"We are a very authentic-looking, totally authentic-sounding tribute," Ledesma said. "We look the part. We all have the long hair, the rock 'n' roll clothes and the attitude."

The band's YouTube profile and Facebook page have garnered them many Florida fans, whom the band is excited to meet in person. Head Games' social media profiles have even scored them a "fly-out gig" to Trinidad.

Ledesma promises that the band has something special up its sleeve for Main Street Blast but doesn't want to ruin the surprise.

The music won't be the only blast from the past at the celebration. Saturday afternoon there will be a Miss Firecracker reunion.

Judy Speach, Miss Firecracker 2007, didn't expect to enter the contest, let alone win. She was working as a patient coordinator at a local surgeon's office when an application to the Miss Firecracker competition came through the fax. Speach had never participated in a pageant before, but her office manager and co-workers persuaded her to enter.

On the way to the event, Speach wasn't sure she wanted to go through with the competition, but just in case, they stopped at her Port Richey home to pick up some dresses. When they got to Main Street Blast, Speach stifled her nerves, changed into her red dress and took to the stage. Before she knew it, she was wearing the crown.

"I love it because it (gives) the city of New Port Richey a small-town feel," Speach said of the contest and festivities. "It made it more like a hometown thing and I like that."

Former Miss Firecracker Star Verosic will also attend the reunion, as the first and only winner to reign for two years. Verosic was Miss Pasco 2005 and went on to Miss Florida that year. Though she didn't take home the crown, she resolved to compete again the following year. But by the time the next pageant rolled around, Verosic was pregnant and couldn't compete in the Miss America circuit. That's when she saw the Miss Firecracker competition.

"You're kind of that representative from the New Port Richey area, being a good role model, going out there and helping the community out," Verosic said. "It's an honor and it's cool too because I had a lot of little girls come up to me (saying), 'Ooh, Miss Firecracker!' "

Samantha Fuchs can be reached at (727) 869-6235 or

15th annual Friendly Kia Fest/Main Street Blast

When: 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sims Park, 6341 Bank St., downtown New Port Richey

Cost: Free

Info: Call Greater New Port Richey Main Street at (727) 842-8066.

Other fireworks

If you can't make it to Greater New Port Richey Main Street's early celebration of Independence Day, check out the fireworks at these events.

Freedom Festival: Contests, pageants and fireworks from 4 to 9 p.m. July 3 at the Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. Free. (813) 994-2242.

Fireworks in Millers Bayou: Watch the show at 9 p.m. July 4 at Waterfront Park, 8119 Old Post Road, Port Richey. Bring nonalcoholic beverages and refreshments. Limited parking. Free. (727) 816-1900 ext. 107.

Star Spangled Bikes on the Bayou: Enjoy a bike show, live music and a view of the Millers Bayou fireworks show from noon to midnight July 4 at Gill Dawg Marina, 5419 Treadway Drive, Port Richey. Food vendors will be on site. No cover charge. No outside food/beverages. (813) 597-0360 or visit

Sparklebration: Contests, pageants, live music, a skydiving show, kids' activities, fireworks and more begin at noon July 4 at Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52, Dade City. No personal fireworks, pets, alcohol, food items or coolers. $5 for adults, free for children ages 12 and under, $5 per car to park. (352) 567-6678 or

Over the border: Tarpon Springs revives its fireworks show this year at dusk, estimated to be at 8:30 p.m. July 4 at Fred Howard Park, 1700 Sunset Drive, Tarpon Springs. Fireworks will be set off from Sunset Beach. The boat ramp will be closed and the beach will be closed to the public at 1 p.m. to prepare for the show. Free. (727) 938-3711.

Main Street Blast lights up New Port Richey June 28-29 06/25/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Glen Campbell's wife Kim discusses challenges, guilt caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, others face

    Life Times

    If there's one thing Kim Campbell would change about caregiving for Alzheimer's patients, it's the attitude so many of us have toward transferring a loved one from home to a long-term care facility. According to Campbell, it's often the most kind, loving decision you can make. It's not a sign of failure, but one of …

    Kim Campbell, wife of country music legend Glen Campbell, is acknowledged by those attending the free event where she shared the story of her personal journey with Alzheimer???‚??„?s disease and the struggles she faced caring for her husband on Friday (5/26/17) at the Suncoast Hospice's Empath Health Service Center in Clearwater. Empath Choices for Care, a member of Empath Health, and Arden Courts Memory Care hosted the free event where Kim shared her story to help others understand the early stages, how the disease changes lives, the challenges families face and the role of caregiver.
  2. What happened when I took my dad to a Pitbull concert

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA — "So, you know how you like Pitbull?" I asked my dad. "We can see him."

    Selfie of Divya Kumar and Anand Kumar at Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert.
  3. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador


    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 25


    St. Pete Pride Festival: The daytime festival covers Central Avenue's Grand Central District with more than 350 vendors, multiple stages, live music, art and food. 9 a.m., Grand Central District, 2429 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-0084.

    Kristen Whalen poses for a photo before the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg last year. It's that time of year again, so check with us for your planning purposes. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times (2016)]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 24


    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth …

    Thousands line the streets of Central Ave. during the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg.  [Saturday, June 25, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]