Showing some appreciation for those who do good

This is a festival that takes time out to celebrate the good that people do in their communities.

The name of the event is Appreciate Pasco: A Community Volunteer Appreciation Festival, and it will feature entertainment, food, prizes, awards and recognitions.

It also will highlight Good Deeds Day, an international event held in 93 countries, to recognize good works that often go unnoticed, but that help make the world a better place.

The appreciation festival will be held on April 15 from noon to 6 p.m., at the Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., in Land O’ Lakes.

“We anticipate it will kick off in flying colors and it will be an annual event,” said Appreciate Pasco organizer Elise Mysels.

Appreciate Pasco kicks off several other annual celebrations, including annual National Volunteer Week, Health Care Volunteer Week, National Park Service Volunteer Week, and Worldwide Volunteer Recognition Day on April 20. It also coincides with National Representation Day, which focuses on ending corruption in government.

Over the past three months, Mysels and a core group of about five volunteers, known as the Pasco County Volunteer Activists, have worked to pull Appreciate Pasco together.

It’s the first festival of its kind in the Tampa Bay area for Good Deeds Day and Representation Day, said Mysels.

“There are a lot of people in our community that do stuff behind the scenes that nobody knows about,” said Mysels. “They deserve to be recognized. We’re trying to make this an initiative that supports smaller types of groups and organizations, and bring to the forefront their needs and causes.”

Entertainment kicks off at noon at the park’s new bandstand, with WMNF radio station’s Florida Folk Show. WMNF is a co-sponsor of the festival through

Performers will be Ronny Elliott, a singer/songwriter and WMNF co-host; The Florida Boys, a Pinellas County-based trio; Tom Scudiero, a Dade City singer/songwriter; Treble Hook, whose real name is Scotty Lee Rexroat, a Dunedin-based singer/songwriter; Jim Mason, a Spring Hill native, with more than 40 years in the recording industry with performers, such as, Peter, Paul and Mary, John Lennon and Buffalo Springfield; and, Dottie South.

More than 70 businesses, vendors, civic organizations, and nonprofits from Tampa Bay are expected to participate. They include Courteous Canine; Arts in Motion Pasco; Davis Family Hearing; Harley-Davidson of Tampa; Ferman Buick-GMC; Moore-Mickens Education Center; Gulfside Hospice; Sierra Club; Pasco County; Catholic Charities; Oasis Pregnancy Centers; Sunrise Pasco; Women’s March; and Organize Florida.

The nonprofit, OneBlood, will drive up its Big Red Bus for blood donations, and free wellness checkups.

Attendees can vote for their favorite nonprofit, with monetary awards going to the top three vote-getters.

Food vendors are Whaley’s BBQ, Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant and the Sno Shack.

International Good Deeds Day began in 2007 as an initiative organized by Ruach Tova of the Ted Arison Family Foundation. The event’s partner is the nonprofit Points of Light, which was founded by President George H.W. Bush.

Good Deeds Day and Points of Light promote innovative programs that engage volunteers in providing public service. The event day focuses on 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations, including eliminating poverty; gender equality; affordable, clean energy; decent work and economic growth; good health; and climate action.

Good deeds, large and small, can change the world, Mysels said.

“Good deeds can be something as small as a smile or holding a door open for someone,” she said.

What: Appreciate Pasco: A Community Volunteer Appreciation Festival
When: April 15, noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., Land O’ Lakes
Cost: Free
Details: The festival celebrates volunteers in Tampa Bay, with arts and crafts, entertainment, food, prizes, and volunteer awards and recognition.

Published April 11, 2018

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