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Safety Harbor may host new jazz event

The Safety Harbor Seafood Festival, which for eight years has drawn thousands of people to the city's marina for food and fun, is no more.

But now city and Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce officials are exploring a possible partnership with the Clearwater Jazz Holiday in hopes of producing a musical festival to take its place next year.

"We would like to have a weekend jazz and blues festival because (March) is already a much anticipated time," said Anne Neil Piccone, executive director of the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce. "We would love to have (the Jazz Holiday) name and their expertise on the event, but it is still in the beginning stages."

The Jazz Holiday's executive director, Karen Vann, would not discuss specifics concerning meetings she has had with Piccone and Safety Harbor Mayor Pam Corbino, but she said she is hopeful a partnership will work.

"We have hoped to take the Clearwater Jazz Holiday year-round anyway because it would be great for us to have a second festival," said Vann. "It would be an ideal situation for the Clearwater Jazz Holiday to team up with Safety Harbor and the chamber to do some kind of event."

This year's Jazz Holiday event is scheduled for Oct. 18-21 at Clearwater's Coachman Park.

Lois Spencer, who has arranged the seafood festival since 1994, said she decided that this past March's event would be her last.

"I just don't have the desire to start all over and reinvent the wheel," said the 70-year-old, who organized the two-day event through her company, United Productions. "It was really a fun thing to build and watch grow. I just don't feel comfortable with the next step."