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Four days celebrate the Fourth

As some people head for the beaches and others head for the lakes to celebrate Independence Day, thousands of others will head for _ where else? _ Gulf View Square Mall in Port Richey for the Red, White and Blue Festival.

The festival is four days of contests, prizes and entertainment on three separate stages in different parts of the mall.

The marathon of events starts at noon Saturday and continues daily, winding up with the largest fireworks display in this area in the mall's northwestern perimeter parking lot at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday.

There will be a free drawing for a $500 U.

S. Savings Bond, a $500 cruise from Regency Cruise Lines and a year membership to a local health club, as well as the annual Apple Pie Bake-Off sponsored by the Rolling Pin kitchen supply store in the mall. Sign-up for the prizes starts at the center court at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the drawing at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

The Apple Pie Bake-Off will be at 11 a.m. Monday, with the three top winners getting gift certificates worth between $20 and $50. To enter, register at the Rolling Pin or the Information Desk before 10:30 a.m. Monday, or call 847-2804. Pies must be brought to the contest area at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

A children's pavilion will have games, crafts, clowns and balloon art in the former Gap store on the main concourse just north of center court, said Cory Hull, who is helping coordinate the mall's celebration. Every child 7 and younger who visits the pavilion will receive a free story book, he said. The pavilion will be open from noon to 8 p.m. each day.

Bresler's Ice Cream near the North Entrance will give away free samples from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Here is the daily entertainment lineup:

SATURDAY: Noon, Opening Ceremonies, Center Stage; 12:15 p.m., singer Mikki Taylor, Center Stage; 1 p.m., Grape Vine Cloggers, South Entrance; 2 p.m., Grape Vine Cloggers, JCPenney Concourse; 3 p.m., Studio of Dance Arts, Center Stage; 4 p.m., Melody the Singing Clown, South Concourse; 5 p.m., Just Country Dancers, Center Stage; 6 p.m., Studio of Dance Arts, JCPenney Concourse; 7 and 8 p.m., Bob King's Southern Knights, Center Stage.

SUNDAY: Noon, Nature Coast Sand Kickers, JCPenney Concourse; 1 p.m., Karaoke by Darla, Center Stage; 2 p.m., Shady Hills Cloggers, JCPenney Concourse; 2:30 p.m., Nature Coast Sand Kickers, South Concourse; 3:30 p.m., Karaoke by Darla, Center Stage; 4:30 p.m., Shady Hills Cloggers, South Concourse.

MONDAY: 3:30 p.m., Fletcher Music Concert, Center Stage; 7 p.m., Pure Country Kickers, Center Stage.

TUESDAY: Noon, Showbiz Kidz, Center Stage; 1 p.m., Carla Clevenger, the Songbird, South Concourse; 2 p.m., Dance Workshop, Center Stage; 2:45 p.m., Carla Clevenger, the Songbird, JCPenney Concourse; 3:30 p.m., Music and sing-a-long with Jennifer, Center Stage; 4 p.m., Showbiz Kidz, South Concourse; 5 p.m., Dance Workshop, JCPenney Concourse; 6 p.m., Wiley Fox Band, Center Stage; 6:45 p.m., Prize Giveaways, Center Stage; 7 p.m. Wiley Fox Band, Center Stage.