NEW PORT RICHEY – It’s that time of year again, New Port Richey.
Chasco Fiesta is back and this one – the 73rd consecutive – might be the biggest yet. The nine-day celebration downtown blends parades, carnivals, Native American festivals, plenty of live music and more.
Chasco’s no stranger to booking well-known recording artists, but organizers stepped it up for 2019. Eddie Money, one of the 1980s biggest hit makers, and Michael Ray, a Eustis-born rising country music star, will most likely combine to help the festival shatter past attendance records.
“In working with Homeland Security, we were told that this year’s event, over the nine days, will probably draw over 300,000 people into downtown New Port Richey,” said Chasco Fiesta Executive Director Geoff Kranich.
The days Money and Ray take the stage will be particularly packed.
Michael Ray headlines Saturday’s schedule, which is the same day as the Meares Plumbing Chasco Fiesta Street Parade.
“A few years ago, I think 2014, we had about 100,000 people in Craig Park on Saturday,” Kranich said. “This year we’re really anticipating to blow that up.”
If Saturday’s weather is pleasant from afternoon into the night, Kranich said crowd estimates are in the 120,000-to-150,000 range for the day.
Eddie Money closes down Chasco Fiesta 2019 on Saturday, April 6, which is the same day as the Covanta Chasco Fiesta Boat Parade. Given the performer’s name recognition and popularity, organizers are trying out something new when Eddie Money takes the stage at 9 p.m. that night.
“This is the first time Chasco’s going to have assigned seating for that particular concert,” Kranich said. “We’re going to try it for the Eddie Money night, see how it rolls and if it works out well we’ll keep doing that in the future.”
Locking Eddie Money in for the festival was a “luck of the draw” situation, Kranich said. Chasco’s entertainment director Chuck Grey used to coach Bobby Rossi, the chief product officer and executive vice president of Entertainment at Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall, in Little League. “Fast-forward about 40 years later, Bobby’s son and my son are pretty much best friends. So, with him helping us out and securing Eddie Money was huge.”
Guests can expect to see or participate in plenty of other annual Chasco Fiesta favorites that will be back. The Main Street Mile is at noon Saturday prior to the 1 p.m. street parade, the Car, Truck and Bike Show begins at 8 a.m., Sunday, the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce’s YPG Bowling Tournament is at 5:30 p.m., April 2, the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament begins at 11:30 a.m., April 5, and the Special Olympics 5K Fun Run will be held at the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center at 8 a.m., April 6.
A pair of raffles expect to draw significant interest April 6, as well.
The Sertoma Children’s Hearing Help Fund Chance Drawing takes place at 8:15 p.m. in Sims Park and offers a grand prize of two club level Tampa Bay Buccaneers season tickets.
Immediately following the Sertoma raffle, guests have a chance to win a 2019 Nissan Kick, donated by Maus Nissan. The brand-new vehicle is valued at $22,897 and tax, tag and title are included.
To find a full Chasco Fiesta schedule and learn more about specific events and activities, go to www.ChascoFiesta.com.