The Market Off Main is putting the finishing touches on its new stage for live entertainment. The renovations will be finished in time for their annual Strawberry Festival on Sunday, Feb. 16. DAYLINA MILLER/STAFF
NEW PORT RICHEY ญญ— Market Off Main is putting the finishing touches on a new, larger stage this week, just in time for its 2014 Strawberry Festival. Located downtown on the Cotee River, the produce market and popular lunch spot offers backyard dining in addition to their seating inside. They often host events like Cuban festivals and sock hops with local entertainers providing live music. With these events occurring more frequently and growing in size, owners Jerry Kuss and Rose Mohr decided to revamp the outside seating and small stage to better accommodate guests and musicians. “We found that we needed more room to bring in bigger groups,” Kuss said. “We put in multiple levels for dining and so that people could see the entertainment.” The new stage is 12-by-16 feet with a retainer wall to prevent damage from water during rainy season and the river's high tide. The flooring in front of the stage will be removable to suit the occasion.
The renovations come just in time for the Strawberry Festival, which will get under way at noon Sunday. The family event will featurestrawberry shortcake, chocolate-dipped strawberries, hamburgers and hotdogs available for purchase. Rich Wilson, whose sounds range from Elvis to gospel, will perform, and kayaks will be available for rental. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to one of the market's favorite charities Guardian ad Litem, volunteer court-appointed advocates for children to help them navigate the foster care systems. Representatives from the organization will be there with a booth and additional information on how to get involved. The Market Off Main has been at its Lincoln Street location since 2009, previously having been at Massachusetts Avenue and Madison Street and then moving to Main Street after a fire destroyed the business. In the past, the market only sold fresh-picked produce, but in recent years have expanded to include a deli serving homemade ice cream, soups, salads, quiche Juan DeSosa's famous “Black Bean Cuisine.” They also sell locally made food products like honey and fresh-baked bread, as well as handcrafted home decor by local artists. Market Off Main is at 241 Lincoln St., across from Sims Park. Call (727) 849-4940(727) 849-4940 with any questions.
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