Festival seeks to become signature event

The Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce is launching a new event aimed at giving people an annual music festival they can enjoy, while area businesses showcase their goods and services.

The festival is a new take on the chamber’s annual business expo that has been held for two decades at the Land O’ Lakes Parks and Recreation Complex.

The event, slated for March 11 and March 12, will be at the Fraternal Order of Police Pasco Lodge 29 property, at 21735 Camp YMCA Road, on Bell Lake, east of Land O’ Lakes Boulevard (U.S. 41) in Land O’ Lakes.

Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks will be the headliner on March 11 to kick off the first night of the new Spring Music Festival & Expo in Land O’ Lakes. (Courtesy of Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce)

Organizers have lined up Taylor Hicks, winner of season five of American Idol, to be the headliner on March 11, the first night of the Spring Music Festival & Expo.

Hicks’ appearance is deliberately timed to coincide with The Farewell Season of American Idol.

Hicks will perform after Solar Exposure, the opening act. The evening also will feature food trucks and beer/wine sales. No coolers or pets will be allowed.

The second day will spotlight businesses and family fun.

“This is super exciting. I can’t believe the energy and enthusiasm that’s already been generated,” said Elayne Bassinger, president of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce.

“The tickets have been selling (for the concert),” she said, noting that some Taylor Hicks fans will be traveling from out of state to attend the concert.

The second day of the event will combine music, a business showcase and fun activities for kids, said David Gainer, co-chair of the event.

“It’s really going to be more of a festive, community type day,” Gainer said. “We’ll have a kids’ zone. We’re going to have a whole bunch of games and bounce houses and those kinds of things,” Gainer said.

The musical lineup for March 12 includes local bands, including Ashley Smith & Josh Higgins, Bad Rabbit, Stonegrey and Bobby Summers.

The second day also gives businesses a chance to shine and the community a better chance to see what they have to offer, Bassinger said.

It also gives area residents “the opportunity to shop local,” she said.

Bassinger credits Gainer and event co-chair Suzanne Beauchaine, account manager of The Laker/Lutz News, for coming up with the new approach to the chamber’s annual business expo.

Bassinger is excited about the event’s new location.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property back there,” she said.

The new venue also offers organizers more options, Gainer said.

“If we were going to do a festival-type atmosphere and be able to provide certain beverages and foods, we had to have it on a non-county owned property,” Gainer said.

Tim Hennigan, president of the F.O.P. Pasco Lodge 29, said his organization is pleased to be involved in the effort.

“We’re very much a part of this community,” Hennigan said.

The event also gives his organization a chance to raise its profile.

“We want people to know who we are. We’ve always been in the shadows,” Hennigan said.

In addition to benefiting the chamber, the event will help to raise money to pay for a permanent memorial for Pasco County’s fallen law enforcement officers, he said.

Tickets for the March 11 concert are now on sale. The cost is $25 for open lawn seating, and $40 for preferred seating.

Tickets can be purchased online at CentralPascoChamber.com.

Published January 13, 2016

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