NEW PORT RICHEY — The Chasco Fiesta, New Port Richey’s premier community event which began in 1922 and has been held annually since 1947, has fallen victim to the coronavirus for the second year in a row.
Organizers have decided that the traditional events, including the parade, music concert, carnival and other popular attractions, draw too many people to safely conduct them under the rules established by health experts and the state during this time of mandatory social distancing.
But Chasco Fiesta executive director Patty Deremer said that the organizing committee is hoping to get a couple of smaller activities planned for the Memorial Day weekend. Those could include a car show, a golf tournament and a fishing tournament.
The events would be small enough to meet the guidelines but still keep the Chasco tradition going in some format helping to raise funds for the 2022 main event, Deremer said.
The Chasco Fiesta normally takes place in late March and early April while the snowbirds are still visiting. While there was talk about planning the normal activities later in the year, it was too late to get everything organized, since it takes a year and about $300,000 to put all of the activities together, Deremer said.
Businesses which have sponsored the events over the year are also taking a hit from the pandemic, making such contributions more difficult at this time, she added.
“It’s a big disappointment for us, because it is a big part of our local community’s identity,” said Debbie Manns, New Port Richey city manager. She said she was glad that the organizers were talking about getting other smaller events on the calendar, though. “That will keep the spirit alive,” Manns said.