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Main Street comes alive with holiday happenings

Downtown New Port Richey will be bustling tonight through 5 p.m. Sunday as Greater New Port Richey Main Street's "Main Street Holidays" gets into full swing.

TODAY: Several downtown shops that usually close at 5 p.m. will be open until 8:30 p.m., both in the Historic District along Grand Boulevard and the Palm District along Main Street.

The Progress Energy Art Gallery on Grand Boulevard will hold a reception honoring artists in its "Wiggle, Slither, Romp & Climb" animal art exhibit at 6 p.m., with baroque music by guitarist Dave Eichenberger.

And at 8 p.m., Richey Suncoast Theatre will start the last of three presentations of its annual holiday show, A Pasco Christmas: Tribute to the U.S.O. (The other two are at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday).

SATURDAY: The activities start at 10 a.m. with the opening of the Holiday Arts and Crafts Village in Sims Park, as several school choral groups and jazz bands perform in the amphitheater and art students display their work around the park.

Santa will be in the park to visit with children from noon to 3 p.m. The Miss Daisy pontoon boat will offer 30-minute river tours until 5:30 p.m. for $5.

The River Lights Boat Parade, with more than two dozen decorated watercraft, will take off from Moonlight Bay and float to Sims Park. Afterward, Expressions, the Dance Company, will give a show (probably about 8 or 8:30 p.m.) on the amphitheater stage.

SUNDAY: The activities begin at 9 a.m., when children and their parents can have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus until 11 a.m. for $3 each (pancakes, sausage and juice), made by the Lunchbox Cookery.

The Holiday Arts and Crafts Village will be open and the Miss Daisy will offer river boat tours ($5) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Genesis Preparatory School will present Christmas Around the World at 3:30 p.m.

Several food vendors will be open in Sims Park during all hours of Main Street Holidays.

Downtown's largest winter event, the Rotary Club of Holiday Downtown New Port Richey Christmas Parade, will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 9.