In 1922, New Port Richey citizens planned a celebration to attract people to the thriving young city and to raise money for the community library. Gerben DeVries, the city’s first postmaster, was given the task of preparing something new to serve as a program. Inspired by his interest in Florida Indian tribes and the enchanting beauty of the river flowing through the city, he combined the two to create a fictional pageant. This pageant gave the celebration its theme, the beautiful Pithlachascotee River loaned its name to the central characters (King Pithla and Queen Chasco) and a tradition was born. The romantic legend intertwined the lives of a Spanish boy and girl, a priest and the Calusa Indian tribe who captured them after defeating a Spanish expedition. According to the story, the boy and girl were later wed as Queen Chasco and her consort Pithla.
Since then Chasco Fiesta™ has been held continuously since 1947 making the 2016 event the 70th continuous. The boat parade is said to be the oldest in the state with the first being in 1922.
Chasco Fiesta™ is a 501 (c) 4 not-for-profit organization. Prior to becoming it's own not-for-profit organization in 2012,Chasco Fiesta was a committee of the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce. Since 1995, Chasco Fiesta™ has been produced by a steering committee of 10-14 individuals. Chasco has its own bank accounts, expenses, and employees and it is housed in the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce building. Chasco Fiesta™ provides a venue for local not for profits to raise funds. With more than thirty not-for-profits benefiting in one way or another, Chasco is not designed as a fundraiser for the Chamber. The Chamber hosts the Golf Tournament and pays the fees to Chasco just like other
not-for-profits. Those not-for-profits that participate do so in two different ways: Vending in Sims Park which requires a nine day commitment from staff and volunteers, and hosting events such as the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind which hosts the Coronation Ball. In 2014, the Chasco Fiesta organization hosted the annual event and assisted twenty-five not-for-profit organizations to raise over $200,000 for their organizations.
Chasco Fiesta is a wonderful event, rich in heritage and culture. Yet this event is not just about having a good time. It is about helping organizations raise funds so that they may continue assist our community. We are proud to continue that legacy of giving today, and grateful that we get to do it while putting smiles on faces.
For additional historical information on Chasco Fiesta go to http://www.fivay.org/chasco.html.
Chasco Fiesta 2017