NEW PORT RICHEY — Elsewhere, the start of spring might conjure up visions of tulips and cherry blossoms. In these parts, the return of Chasco Fiesta is a sure sign that things are about to heat up.
The annual event kicks off Friday, March 24, in downtown New Port Richey for a nine-day run, which will feature carnival rides and barbecue fare, boat and street parades, a varied lineup of daily music at Sims Park and the traditional Native American festival on the banks of the Pithlachascotee River....
03/15/17 Human Interest
It's Saturday morning and the Gulf of Mexico calls. It's close to 11 a.m. when youngsters dribble into the Gill Dawg Marina to slather on sunscreen and load up on water in preparation for an outdoor adventure.
The itinerary is simple: Food, fun and fundamentals of environmental education at Eco Dawgs, a fledgling adventure program for youths at Gill Dawg Marina.
On this day, there is time to down a cheeseburger and french fries while taking in a 30-minute educational presentation by program director Dominique O'Connor. It's a preliminary lesson that touches on the water cycle, the important functions of the coastal wetlands, its inhabitants, and how to preserve both....
03/07/17 Music & Concerts
SPRING LAKE — Festival season is in full gear. And, as tradition would have it, the Will McLean Music Festival will offer a musical salute to the "Father of Florida Folk" with festivities kicking off on Friday in the wooded setting of the Sertoma Youth Ranch.
McLean, who grew up in the Panhandle, would be right at home singing his heart out in those woods. He started out playing a gourd and cornstalk fiddle made by his grandfather and spent the better part of his life traversing the state, taking up a mission to preserve the land and waterways he loved through his music. By the time cancer took him in early 1990, McLean had written some 3,700 songs, stories and poems. ...
SAN ANTONIO — Just weeks after the announcement that a 50-year-old local tradition had come to an end, there's been a revival.
Come the second weekend of October, the San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival will go on as usual, this time under the direction of a local nonprofit organization, the Thomas Promise Foundation.
"A lot of people in town are happy it is going to continue after 50 years," San Antonio Rotary Club member and former festival organizer Betty Burke said....
If walls could talk, the two-story, red-brick building on Martin Luther King Boulevard would have a lot to say.
There are 90 years of storied history stashed inside the structure, which opened as Dade City Grammar School after winter break on Jan. 3, 1927, and which now is known as Rodney B. Cox Elementary School.
It's a time capsule of sorts, traversing through 11 administrators, numerous teachers and thousands of students. Fathers and mothers have gone to school here. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, too. ...
LAND O'LAKES — At 6-foot-2, Max Keenan cuts a tall figure as he walks the campus, save when he pauses mid-conversation to snatch a discarded cellophane wrapper blowing across his path.
It's a small gesture — but one that speaks volumes about Keenan's character.
And that's something that carries weight with the students and faculty who voted Keenan as the 2016-2017 Outstanding Senior at Land O'Lakes High last fall, and with the panel of final judges that gave him the title of Most Outstanding Senior for the entire county....
HUDSON — If crabs are your thing, you're in luck this weekend.
The SunWest Park Crab and Shrimp Festival kicks off Saturday with two days of live music, carnival rides, craft vendors, seafood and culinary offerings at the spring-fed water park in northwest Pasco County.
Add to that the thrill of watching hermit crabs toting their painted shells to the finish line.
A little bit of new and much improved is the motto for the second annual event, which admittedly got off to a rocky start in 2016....
DADE CITY — A celebrity milk-off and the Axe Women Loggers of Maine. Racing pigs and a Barnyard Revue. Whirling midway rides and the wafting aromas of fried dough, corn dogs and freshly baled hay.
The 70th annual Pasco County Fair kicks off Monday for a seven-day run, and organizers have been switching things up with hopes to entice visitors.
"It's been 70 years of homespun fun. We're trying to make it exciting and new for everyone," said fair general manager Clark Converse. ...
SAN ANTONIO— It was a good, long run — 50 years. But times change. People move on. Traditions fall by the wayside.
So it goes with San Antonio's annual Rattlesnake Festival and Run.
Last week, the Rotary Club of San Antonio announced it had decided to discontinue the festival, a mainstay since 1967. That's when Jaycee Club members Gerald McLeod and Willie Post came up with the idea of rounding up rattlesnakes and gopher tortoises as a way to entertain, educate and raise a little money for local causes....
DADE CITY — Little Everglades Ranch will fling open its gates this weekend, and everyone is invited to come and check out the place.
Florida Ranch Days, a celebratory open house of sorts, will be Saturday and Sunday at the 2,050-acre working ranch. The event will feature more than 20 bands, educational snake and birds of prey shows, a high-wire act, tours, a swamp buggy obstacle course ride, crafts, kids activities and plenty of food and drink....
Tuesday is clinic day at Pasco High School, and that means Margaret Polk is likely to be interrupted.
She is more than happy to chat about her job and the news that the Florida Association of School Nurses recently named her Florida's 2017 School Nurse of the Year.
But the kids come first.
"We might have to stop because students will be coming in for their sports physicals," Polk warns....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Veterans Day likely will be the same as most other workdays for Darrell Barnes. That's okay with him. He loves his job.
Barnes, 49, is a veterans employment consultant for the Boley Centers' Veterans Integration Assistance Program. He's part of a core group, working out of an office tucked in a strip mall at Trouble Creek Road and Grand Boulevard, along with veterans — Paul Kendrick (Marines) and Lee Browder (Air Force)....
WESLEY CHAPEL — John Schneider is a man of many roles. Some might know him as Bo Duke on the television series The Dukes of Hazzard, Superman's adoptive dad on Smallville or currently as Jim Cryer on Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots. He's also a country singer and songwriter and touts a long-held passion for independent filmmaking.
Now Schneider is promoting the works of other indie filmmakers through a traveling film festival....
HOLIDAY — For students working their way toward a career, hands-on experiences can be every bit as important as opening a textbook or taking a test. So when it comes time for school health screenings, students enrolled in academies of health at local high schools get some exposure to the real world while helping to accomplish what can be a daunting task.
As sixth-graders poured into Paul R. Smith Middle School's media center on Oct. 11, Health Academy students from Anclote High stood at assigned posts, dressed in navy blue scrubs. Their task: to record each student's height and weight, conduct initial vision screenings and help with hearing screenings alongside volunteers from the Sertoma Speech and Hearing Foundation....
SAN ANTONIO — Up North, October heralds the start of cooler temperatures, changing leaves and apple-picking season.
Here in Florida, it's time to celebrate venomous reptiles.
As tradition would have it, the San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival & Run kicks off Saturday at City Park and continues Sunday. It's the 50th year for the festival, which takes an educational and altruistic approach to celebrating the much-feared snake. Last year, 5,000 to 6,000 people attended, according to festival chairwoman Betty Burke....