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Feeling the holiday letdown? Pasco/Hernando festival season to the rescue

Day trip or camp out. There’s plenty to choose from in the months to come.
Raising Cane — A Sweet and Spice Event will be held Jan. 11 at the Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City. [RICHARD K RILEY  |  Special to the Times]
Raising Cane — A Sweet and Spice Event will be held Jan. 11 at the Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City. [RICHARD K RILEY | Special to the Times]
Published Jan. 9
Updated Jan. 10

The holidays are over, but the fun isn’t. While northern counterparts are hunkering down, there are plenty of local festivals on the horizon. Foodies are welcome to get out and celebrate kumquats, loquats, sugar cane and barbecue with a heaping serving of the blues — and that’s just the January offerings.

Check out what’s to come.

JANUARY

  • Raising Cane Sugarcane Syrup Festival, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 11 at Pioneer Florida Museum, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City. Admission is $5; children under 5 are free. Sugar cane syrup contest and International Chili Society-sanctioned chili cook-off. Pancake breakfast and tastings. Live entertainment, featuring The Hummingbirds and the Cadillac Cowboys. www.pioneerfloridamuseum.org
  • Collards Festival and Winter Greens Expo, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 11 at Grand Gardens, 5721 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey. Cool weather produce from local growers, bedding plants, organic and heirloom seeds, locally-grown vegetable, flower seedlings and loquat fruit trees. There will be opportunities to acquire a plot at Grand Gardens. Attendees will receive a packet of milkweed seeds to help establish the primary food and life-source for the monarch butterfly.
  • Pigz In Z’Hills BBQ and Blues Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 18 at 5200 Airport Road, Zephyrhills. Free admission. $10 parking. Blues music, corn-hole tournament, barbecue contest, car show, kids zone, aviation showcase, Military History Museum. Featured bands include Sean Chambers, Chris Walker Band, Chuck Riley’s All Stars and The Sauce Boss. No coolers. No pets. Service animals only. Limited seating. Bring lawn chairs. www.zephyrhillschamber.org/bbq-blues
Blues performer Chuck Riley (center) will be back for the 10th-annual Pigz in Z'Hills BBQ Blues Festival, held Jan. 18 in Zephyrhills. [MICHELE MILLER | Times files]
  • Suncoast Arts Fest, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 18 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Shops at Wiregrass, Wesley Chapel. Free. Features the work of artists throughout the country, live entertainment, kid’s art garden and more. Proceeds benefit the Arts for Kids mini-grants program that supports fine arts projects in Pasco County schools. suncoastartsfest.com
  • 40th-Annual Brooksville Raid Reenactment, Jan. 18-19 at Sand Hill Scout Reservation, Spring Hill. A re-creation of typical Civil War battles. Hernando County was the location of raids in 1863 and 1864. The public is invited to tour, at no additional charge, the authentic Confederate and Union camps and see how soldiers lived during the Civil War. brooksvilleraidreenactment.com
Civil War re-enactors will portray Confederate and Union troops during the 40th-annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment held Jan. 18-19 at the Sand Hill Scout Reservation in Spring Hill. [Times files]
  • Kumquat Festival, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 25 in downtown Dade City. Free. A pint-size orange fruit with a powerful punch is the highlight of this festival that has attracted more than 35,000 in past years. More than 400 food and craft vendors, Kids Corral, quilt show, car and truck show, farmers market, health and wellness area and kumquat pie and other sundries. Live entertainment at the historic courthouse. Transportation from two satellite parking areas is free. www.KumquatFestival.org
Dade City hosts the annual Kumquat Festival Jan 25 in downtown Dade City.

FEBRUARY

  • Farm Fest and Quilt Show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Pioneer Florida Museum, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City. $10. Quilt Exhibition, quilt appraiser, horse pull, craft demonstrations. www.pioneerfloridamuseum.org
  • Brooksville Native American Festival, Feb. 1-2 at Florida Classic Park, 5360 Lockhart Road. Brooksville. Adults, $10; kids (5-12), $5; 5 and under, free. Educational festival and art show. Drum circle, dancing demonstrations. RV and primitive camping available. www.brooksvillenativeamericanfest.com
The popular Red Boyz Dancers and Drummers return to the Brooksville Native American Festival at Florida Classic Park in Brooksville. [Courtesy of Paul DeLun]
  • Pasco Blues and Food Festival, 12 to 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at Heritage Park, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Boulevard, Land O’ Lakes. $10 cash entry. Food, wine, beer, vendors, kids zone and live music featuring Selwyn Birchwood, Pasco Lefty, Home Cookin’ Band and Grimes Alley.
  • Celtic Family Jamboree, Feb. 7-8 at Sertoma Youth Ranch, 85 Myers Road, Brooksville. $32.50 - $152.50 (with camping). Live entertainment includes Albannach, Screaming Orphans, Bing Futch, The Byrne Brothers and more. Highland Athletics and Border Collie herding demo. Vendors. www.celticheritageproductions.com/fj.htm#Entertainment
The Screaming Orphans, an Irish sister act out of Donegal, Ireland, will be back for Celtic Family Jamboree Feb. 7-8 at Sertoma Youth Ranch. [Courtesy Sanjay Suchak]
  • Heritage Day Festival, Feb. 15, along the Good Neighbor Trail and grounds of Countryman Family One-Room Schoolhouse and 1885 Train Depot, Brooksville. www.hernandohistoricalmuseumassoc.com/events.htm
  • 77th-Annual Pasco County Fair, Feb. 17-23 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52, Dade City. Carnival rides, games and traditional fair food. Student agriculture shows, art and community exhibits. .Entertainment includes magic shows, a sanctioned rodeo and bluegrass, gospel and country music concerts. www.pascocountyfair.com
Raelynn Reagan offers bits of straw to a heifer named Ariel during the 2019 Pasco County Fair in Dade City. [MICHELE MILLER | Times (2019)]
  • Florida Bluegrass Classic Festival, Feb. 18-23 in 5360 Lockhart Road, Brooksville. $25-$85 for single and multiple day passes. Children under 12 free with paid adult. (camping fees separate). Entertainment includes Atlantic City Boys, Johnny Counterfeit, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Doug Stone and more.
Atlantic City Boys, a Four Seasons tribute band, will perform at the Florida Bluegrass Classic. [absolute Publicity/Evans Media]
  • Sunwest Crab and Shrimp Festival, Feb. 28-March 1 at Sunwest Park, 17362 Old Dixie Highway, Hudson. Friday free entry. $5 admission Saturday and Sunday. Parking is $5. Live bands, crab races, corn-hole tournament, craft and business vendors, photo booths and lots of seafood options. Proceeds benefit the Stano Foundation and Gulfside Hospice. www.facebook.com/events/sunwest-park/2020-sunwest-crab-shrimp-festival/361307621475558/
  • Paulie Palooza, noon to 9 p.m. Feb. 29 in downtown Zephyrhills. $5 suggested donation. Live music, food trucks, vendors, prize drawings and silent auction. Limited seating. Lawn chairs are welcome. Proceeds benefit Gulfside Hospice. www.gulfside.org/upcoming-events.html

MARCH

  • Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest, March 6-8, Linda Pedersen Park at Jenkins Creek, Hernando Beach. Adults: $5; Kids (6-12) $3. Ages 5 and under are free. Cash only at the gate. ATM on premises. Live entertainment, vendors, T-shirts and costume contests. swampfestweekiwachee.com
The winners of the 2019 Weeki Wachee Swamp Festival Swamp Monster contest include (from left): First place, Ashley Bozarth; second place, Patricia Caropepe; and third place, Diana Dewey. The 2020 Swamp Fest will be held March 6-8 at Linda Pedersen Park at Jenkins Creek, Hernando Beach.
  • 110th Founders Day Parade and Heritage Festival, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 7 in downtown Zephyrhills. The Roaring 20s is the theme of this local fest featuring vendors, food, arts and crafts and music. www.mainstreetzephyrhills.org/founders-day
  • The Will McLean Music Festival, March 13-15 at Sertoma Youth Ranch, 85 Myers Road, Brooksville. $15-60. Children under 12 free. (Camping fees separate.) This annual concert honors the father of Florida Folk, Will McLean. Live music, instrumental workshops, vendors and kids activities. Features the winner of the annual Best New Florida Song Contest. www.willmclean.com
The Will McLean Music Festival, March 13-15 at Sertoma Youth Ranch. [Courtesy Donna Green-Townsend]
  • Spring Hill/Tampa Water Lantern Festival, 4 to 9 p.m. March 14 at SunWest Park, 17362 Old Dixie Highway, Hudson. $25.99-$55.99. This celebration of life includes entertainment, floating lanterns, commemorative drawstring bag. www.waterlanternfestival.com/springhill.php
  • Art in the Park, March 14-15, at Tom Varn Park, 301 Darby Lane, Brooksville. Free. Juried art show featuring over 130 local, state and national artists. Live entertainment, food court/food trucks. Free children activities. www.hernandoarts.org/about-our-show
  • Florida Loquat Festival, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 21 in Francis Avenue Park, New Port Richey. Free. Fresh fruit, preserves, trees and baked loquat goods. Poetry festival and art show.
Dell deChant (pictured) is one of the founders of the annual Florida Loquat Festival to be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 21 at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey. [MICHELE MIILLER | Times (2018) ]
  • Fifth-Annual Land O’ Lakes Music Festival, 4 to 10 p.m. March 21 at Heritage Park in Land O’ Lakes. Free. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. members.westpasco.com/events/details/land-o-lakes-music-festival-5074
  • Blues Bash at the Ranch, March 20-22 at Sertoma Youth Ranch, 85 Myers Road, Brooksville. $20-$80. (Camping fees separate.) Entertainment includes Diana Rein Band, Chris Beard Band, Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones, Bill Wharton The Sauce Boss, Joel DaSilva Band, Gabe Stillman Band, Eliza Neals & the Narcotics and more. Music workshops. www.bluesbashattheranch.com
  • Spring Bluegrass Music Festival, March 26-29 at Sertoma Youth Ranch, 85 Myers Road, Brooksville. $30-$85. (Camping fees separate.) Three days of music and camping, or just stay for the day. Lineup includes Nothin Fancy, The Steel Drivers, Larry Cordle, & Jerry Salley, Kenny & Amanda Smith. www.evansmediasource.com or sertomayouthranch.org
  • Jewish Food Festival, noon to 4 p.m. March 22, at Temple Beth David, 13158 Antelope St., Spring Hill. Non-food vendors only may participate (must supply their own table). The vendor fee is $40 per space. Call no later than March 17. For information contact Linda at 561-315-8704 or Imweiner17@gmail.com
  • Chasco Fiesta, March 27-April 4 in downtown New Port Richey. Nine days of revelry in and around downtown New Port Richey. Street parade, boat parade, carnival rides, dragon boat races, daily entertainment in Sims Park. www.chascofiesta.com
Revelers line the Grand Boulevard at the 2018 Chasco Fiesta street parade in downtown New Port Richey. The annual festival features carnival rides, live music, a Native American Festival and more. [MICHELE MILLER | Times (2018)]

APRIL

  • Jelly Bean Fling Spring Festival, April 4 at the Pioneer Florida Museum, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City. www.pioneerfloridamuseum.org
  • Hernando County Fair and Youth and Livestock Show, April 3-11 at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. www.hernandofairgrounds.com/
  • Stringbreak, April 16-19 at Sertoma Youth Ranch, 85 Myers Road, Brooksville. $20 to $130 for single and multiple-day passes. (Camping fees separate.) Special youth pricing. This four-day music festival features an eclectic array of music — Americana, bluegrass, Celtic, newgrass, zydeco and more. Day trip it with a lawn chair or camp out. lindentertainment.com/stringbreak-home
  • Brooksville Blueberry Festival, April 25-26 in downtown Brooksville. Free. Blueberry pies, cakes, jams, honeys, beer garden, kids zone, community showcase. Live music includes Nuthin Fancy (Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. brooksvilleblueberryfestival.com
The 2020 Brooksville Blueberry Festival will be held April 25-26.

MAY

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