Twenty-five years ago, Patty Deremer was a little girl in the Chasco Fiesta parade in New Port Richey. Now, she’s the sponsorship chair of the festival, which kicks off this weekend.
During this year’s nine-day celebration, people will see annual favorites such as the boat and street parades, plus concerts and wildlife exhibits.
“It’s a big event that draws everybody back,” said Deremer. “It feels like it's a big family reunion when you come down here and it’s just a great draw to get people focused back in their community.”
The festival began in 1922 to raise money for the community library and has run annually since 1947.
Chasco Fiesta continues to serve as a major fundraiser for local non-profits. According to the festival website, they raised over $275,000 last year.
One of the highlight events, the street parade, starts Saturday at 1 p.m. along Grand Blvd. On the following Saturday, April 6, the state’s oldest boat parade will take place on the Pithlachascotee River starting at Miller’s Bayou.
“In years past, we averaged around 125,000 to 150,000 attendees just from the street parade day alone and around 300,000 from the nine days,” said Deremer.
The festival runs through April 6. For a full list of events, see their webpage.