Wednesday, October 31, 2012

From Mud to Main street to Mobile

If there is an asset Pasco County has it's land! Private ranches, environmental lands and our parks naturally promote Pasco County as an ecotourism destination. The number of mud, obstacle and adventure events the County is drawing is mind numbing like some of the "ice-cold" obstacle dips promoted by Savage Race and Tough Mudder. However, October and November kickoff the festival season that highlight many main streets from New Port Richey to Zephyrhills.

In case you missed all the fun of events like the Savage Race at the Little Everglades Ranch, make sure to check our sports  and events calendar for upcoming events like the Pretty Muddy on November 10. In addition, a 5k Zombie Run will be lurking at the Little Everglades Ranch on Saturday, December 22. That's if we make it past the Mayan Apocalypse on Friday, Dec. 21.

Now for those of you looking to stay clean I suggest you hit the many main streets and fairgrounds for some great events in November.
The Pasco County Fairgrounds hosts the largest Volkswagon show in the Southeast. The Bug Jam traditionally draws more than 600 VWs entered in 59 classes of air- and water-cooled classes. More information is available at

The Pasco Ecofest returns with a New Focus on Nature. The EcoFest, Nov. 9 -12,includes six parks, the New Port Richey Recreation & Aquatic Center, Peace Hall, at Sims Park, the New Port Richey Public Library and Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Preserve. Starkey Park will be home base, with other activities all across west Pasco County - for more information visit

In addition, the Greater New Port Richey Main Street is currently planning for the Harvest Fest – Bluegrass and Bar-B-Q on that same Ecofest weekend of November 9-11 in Sims Park. Harvest Fest is one of eight locations in West Pasco for this year’s Eco-Fest. More information is available at

Finally, you can keep up with all these events in and out of the mud on's new mobile site. Just type in on your cell/mobile device and surf. It's free and mud free!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eco Ed on the water with the Don of Chicago Fishing

 Don Dziedzina of Illinois Outdoors Inc shows off a perfect tournament catch
 Watching fishing television shows are at times not realistic. I'm sure you know the feeling when the professional is reeling the fish on the boat. It's a 30 minute program and they have caught dozens of fish. Next week you hit the same fishing hole and nothing.

Pasco County's ecotourism expert "Eco" Ed Caum was thinking the same thing. Except this time he was not only fishing, he was also hosting Don Dziedzina of Illinois Outdoors Inc., on a mini media tour. Fortunately, the video below proves that you can get out on the water (Ed and Don were with Captain Randy Schone of Barefoot Bandit Charters) and witness a real fish story. That's when they are biting for the angling pro and the ecotourism expert. Check out the video blog on You Tube and

Friday, April 13, 2012

Brenda's Berry Farm

April in Florida means the season is ripe for picking a dark blue commodity that used to be associated with colder north climates, blueberries. This sweet little berry, rich with fiber and full of anti-oxidants, has moved south.
The University of Florida launched a blueberry breeding program in 1976 and it produced three strains of southern highbush blueberries developed for Florida’s mild climate. Thirty years later these efforts have bloomed, so to speak. 
Pasco County now boasts numerous commercial blueberry farms and several of them are you U-Pick patches. One is Brenda’s Berry Barn. Located on Hudson Road three miles east of little Road. The Short family has a U-Pick farm which backs up to Brenda’s son Brad’s commercial farm.  What’s the difference? Brad’s produces more than 80,000 pounds of berries while Brenda’s hosts people from around the world who pick the 30,000 pounds her farm produces. 
Brenda Short

International you say? Yes, on a recent morning the Gottwald Family from Berlin, Germany stopped by and harvested ten pounds of berries to enjoy while on vacation here in Pasco. Later that day tourists from Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia stopped by to pick a few pounds, according to Brenda.
You can also purchase fresh berries that Brenda has ready for you. Visitors can also pick up a bottle of blueberry syrup or jam to satisfy their sweet tooth. Brenda has also written a children’s story about her berry farm and it makes a nice memento for time spent in the patch picking our own dark blueberries full of bliss with your family.
In an effort to increase the knowledge of blueberry farms in Pasco, local farmers have put to together the Blueberry Jerry Jamboree in memory of Brenda’s husband Jerry and there son Justin she lost several years ago. The jamboree on April 27-29, features none other than a blueberry pancake breakfast (Sat & Sunday), puppet shows, a ham dinner, face-painting, balloons and music and lots of blueberries.
If you want to strike up a conversation with Brenda when you visit ask her about her Blueberry Cobbler.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New twists rekindle Suncoast Arts Fest

Wesley Chapel -- This year’s Suncoast Arts Fest at the Shoppes at Wiregrass drew crowds in excess of 100,000 in late January and added a few new aspects to what many consider one of the fastest growing art festivals in Central Florida. For the seventh year in a row the show continued to grow and draw talented artists from across the region.
A 5k run was added to raise money directly for area schools’ art classes and chalk artists were dotted through the hundreds of vendors. Fantastic food was featured and there was a Flash Mob Dance on Sunday.
“The dance group was excellent,” said Pam Marron, co-chair of the Suncoast Arts Fest. “It was kind of a surprise because normally Wiregrass doesn’t allow flash mobs, in-line with a lot of other area malls. So it was a neat one-time event.”
The two-day festival featured 85 artists displaying and selling their work. There were also ten vendors offering a variety of goods.
“We had people from around the region come to this event to display their wares and art,” explained Marron. “I also had 21 other artists come to the event to see it first-hand and they decided to sign up for next year.” The dates for next year are already set for Jan 19-20, 2013. Artists came from the local area plus, Orlando, Punta Gorda and Sarasota. “Each year we draw artists and visitors in from further and further distances,” said Marron.
As in the past the Fest used smart phone technology to push out the information on the musical performances, as well as specials offered around the Shoppes of Wiregrass.
“We worked hard this year to make the event more interactive,” Marron said. “We used QR codes, Facebook and twitter to keep our visitors aware of the events as they happened.”
The School District played and even larger part in the festival this year according to Marron. Art teachers and their students made up a bulk of the volunteer force.
Marron said that a number of the sponsors were extremely happy with the turn out and one boasted a 40% increase in sales over the previous year. What will they think of next as they continue to grow what has become a featured art festival in the region?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pasco EcoFest Photo Competition

Photo by Andrea Webb
The Chasco Camera Club, Progress Energy Art Gallery and the West Pasco Arts Guild hosted the inaugural Pasco EcoFest Photographic Competition as one of the outdoor opportunities during the three-day festival last November. The photos from that forum are being displayed at the West Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey for the month of January.

The Camera Club has been around since 1973, currently has 42 members and holds two meetings a month; on the first and third Tuesdays at the Hudson Library. Throughout the year the Club sponsors around ten exhibits, according to Charlie Srsich, a long-time member.

“I think the EcoFest was great overall,” said Srsich. “I think that next year people will have a better idea of what to expect and even more will participate in all the activities, especially photography.” A photographer since the 1950, Srsich lamented about the challenge of nature photography.

“You can be one place, one day at a certain time and you will have wildlife all around you. Next visit there may not be any. It takes a lot of patience to capture a great photograph.”

Srsich knows that people who participated in this competition enjoyed it and the fact there were 11 winners, five from the Chasco Camera Club, will bring even more submissions next year.

Club information and membership, events and competitions is available at

Winners from the competition are:

First Place – Cheryl Molennor for “Elegance and Grace”
Second Place – Joan Bold for “Five Sandpipers”
Third Place – Steward Harrison for “Flight”

The photos can be viewed from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizen’s Drive, New Port Richey.