NEW PORT RICHEY — Celebrating different cultures is how we learn about the “melting pot” that makes up America. For the third year, Caribbean culture was in the spotlight during a Sims Park event.

On Aug. 25, the third annual New Port Richey Caribbean Carnival and Festival was held at Sims Park. Over 3,000 people flocked to the park throughout the day to experience the infectious beats of the music and try food from the Caribbean Islands.

The event was presented by Dulcet Restaurant & Lounge and sponsored by Iona Foundation Corporation. It featured a variety of food, business vendors, arts and crafts vendors and a parade. Live music included steel drums, Melvin and Dickie, Impulse Band, The Black Honkeys, Soca by Sound Quest and Wayne Wonder.

This is the third year that the event has been held but the first year that they added a parade, by popular demand.

“In the Caribbean, we always have parades,” said Doreen Scott, a representative of both the Dulcet Restaurant and the Iona Foundation.

There are many people from the Caribbean in New Port Richey and she wanted the festival to show off the region’s culture and let others experience a taste of the islands.

New Port Richey has a lot of events, Scott said. We wanted something to celebrate us.

“It celebrates our heritage,” she said.

Amy Macchio lives close by and tries to attend as many of the Sims Park events as possible. She believes what Scott wants to accomplish with the festival is important.

“It’s important to celebrate all of the cultures,” Macchio said.

Yaisa Myers came to the Caribbean carnival for the second year in a row because she enjoys the food and seeing the people.

“It just gives some variety,” Myers said.

A portion of the money raised will go towards The RAP House, a short-term shelter for youths who are experiencing abuse or neglect, homelessness, at-risk behavior or youths in foster care with a disruption in their placement.

The charity was chosen because Scott believed that all young people should have a place to go because “You don’t know what they are running from.”