HUDSON — Visitors to SunWest Park enjoy not only the beach and the amenities, but also climbing into and taking photos on the "Big Chair," a colorful Adirondack near the parking lot.
In fact, the chair served as the spark for a new charity event that will take place this weekend at SunWest — the CARES Beach Chair-ity Festival, which will be Saturday and Sunday.
"We thought it would be iconic to base an event, a community project, around it," said Brenda Martyniak, communications director for Community Aging and Retirement Services Inc., or CARES.
While the event will feature a variety of festival staples, such as food and craft vendors, music and activities for the family, there also will be more than 20 uniquely decorated Adirondack chairs — painted by businesses and other sponsors — up for auction.
"We began promoting the chairs earlier this year," Martyniak said. "They've all been painted and decorated. … This is basically the sideline to what the event is all about. It's been real interesting to see what people have come up with."
Saturday will include a variety of musical entertainment, kicking off with DJ Jeremy Elvis at 11 a.m. and up-and-coming country singer Robert Cellucci, who recently signed on with Fat Boy Entertainment, at 2 p.m. The Jimmy James '70s Rock Show, a tribute band that performs classic rock hits from the 1970s, will be from 4 to 6 p.m.
Saturday's festivities will end with a fireworks display at dusk.
Sunday will feature musical entertainment by Barefoot Bob and the Hope from 1 to 3 p.m. The CARES Beach Chair-ity Auction will follow at 3 p.m., with proceeds going to CARES.
Both days will include a variety of beach games, vendors, beer and wine, and an array of food choices. All amenities will be open at the park.
The event was the brainstorm of Martyniak, CARES president and CEO Jemith Rosa and Pasco Commissioner Jack Mariano. Together, they felt the event not only could help raise money for CARES, a nonprofit that provides services to Pasco's elder residents and their families, but also help promote SunWest Park.
Martyniak said Rosa thought of the idea to incorporate something similar to the large, painted horses found throughout Ocala. Martyniak quickly thought about the large chair at SunWest.
"I thought the chair could be the icon of the event," she said.
The publicly owned SunWest Park is located on a spring-fed lake and offers a wakeboard/cable park, an aqua park, paddleboarding and kayaking, as well as a beach area for swimming, picnic tables and a shaded pavilion.
"(Mariano) felt having the festival there would be great thing," Martyniak said. "Not only does it allow the community to learn about the park, but it helps CARES at the same time. It's a win-win situation for everyone."