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Pow wow festival again pulls a profit

As country singer Frank Cannon performed Saturday at the Seminole Pow Wow Festival, Wanda Castle danced in a yellow top and slacks and white cowboy boots.

"I dance every week in the Seminole Mall to his (Cannon's) music and others," said Castle, 70, of Largo. "And we love this festival. We've been coming here every year, and what's fun is the music is free."

She and a group of about 20 regulars from the twice-weekly music sessions at the mall were in the audience Saturday on the grounds of the Seminole Recreation Center.

About 10,000 attended the 35th Pow Wow festival, which offered rides, a parade and fireworks over two days.

Overcast skies didn't seem to bother the estimated 4,000 people gathered for the parade Saturday morning in the Seminole Mall parking lot and along 113th Street.

Shriners from the Egypt Temple in Tampa executed fancy maneuvers with tin lizzies, miniature cars and full-sized motorcycles.

The Seminole High School band and state soccer champs from the high school marched.

Osceola High School's cheerleaders rode on a float, but the school's band had to bow out because the entire percussion section got ill a few days before the parade.

One of the festival's biggest moneymakers was the carnival, which Bob Matthews said earned about $30,000 in ticket sales. The Pow Wow gets about 30 percent of that.

When the bills are paid, the two-day event will realize about $10,000 in profit, Matthews said. The $12,000 in expenses included the fireworks, hiring Pinellas County sheriff's deputies to provide security, and the musical entertainment.

The city of Seminole absorbs any losses, but that hasn't happened for several years. Matthews said the festival started out in the black this year because $22,000 was left in the fund from the past several years.

Last fall, the Pow Wow Festival committee bought a new tent for $2,800 and donated $2,500 to both the teen board at the Seminole Community Library and for the teen game room at the recreation center.

"From my experience in the years since I've been working with the festival, this one ran the smoothest," said Matthews, who is also a Seminole City Council member.

Jim Sheets, the city's recreation director and a member of the Pow Wow committee, said, "Based on our ticket sales and the wristbands, which sold for $11 on Friday, we had about 3,000 people. The parade attracted about 4,000, and about another 3,500 people came on Saturday. I generally like to underestimate the size of the crowd."

The Rocko Plane spins at the carnival Saturday at the Seminole Recreation Center. The rides earned about $30,000 in ticket sales over two days. The pow wow gets about 30 percent of that. Friday's crowd was about 3,000; Saturday's, 3,500.

A Largo group sets up early for the fireworks Saturday. Nancy Sarlo spins her granddaughter, Madelyn Sarlo, 2, while Madelyn's mother, Rebecca Sarlo, attends to her other child, Ashton, 1. After the bills are paid, the pow wow will have earned about $10,000 in profit, Bob Matthews said.