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Cotee River Seafest brings seafood, blues, and boat rides to New Port Richey’s Sims Park

cotee river seafest

Remember that calendar of seafood festivals from Florida Rambler that I shared on Facebook back in January? I’ve been going to several of these. This weekend, the seafood festival calendar led me out to New Port Richey for the 17th Annual Cotee River Seafest.

Miss Daisy
Miss Daisy picking up passengers during the Cotee River Seafest.

Having never been to New Port Richey, I was particularly interested in the boat rides that would be running down the Pithlachascotee River (Cotee, for short) during the festival. New Port Richey used to be a popular destination for Hollywood stars in the silent film era (the 1920’s). Several purchased winter residences along the Pithlachascotee River, including Charlie Chapman and Gloria Swanson. If you take the Miss Daisy 2 hour boat ride, you can learn all about this. I learned quite a bit just from the 30-45 minute abridged version offered at Seafest.

DSC03069 a web

Charlie Chaplin house
Charlie Chaplin’s former home in New Port Richey, FL.
Gloria Swanson home
Gloria Swanson’s former home in New Port Richey, FL.
Shirley Temple home
Shirley Temple used to stay with her Aunt in the pink house to the left of the Jacaranda tree in this photo.

After the boat ride, I partook in some fresh seafood from Hammerheads. They offered a large selection of seafood dishes, including jambalaya, paella, crab cake sandwiches, grouper sandwiches, coconut shrimp, and fried clams.

hammerheads web

seafood collage

It was a beautiful day to sit out in Sims Park, eat some seafood, and listen to some music. As I munched on my Crab Cake sandwich, I listened to the sounds of the Lauren Mitchell Band, one of several local blues bands that performed during the Cotee River Seafest.

looking into Sims Park

stage web

band 1 web

band 2 web

With the Suncoast Blues Society present, this festival reminded me a lot of Clearwater’s Sea Blues festival. I’m not sure when or how seafood & blues became a traditional Florida combination, but it’s a combo I love.

Jennifer Ring
Jennifer Ring is a freelance writer & photographer living in the Tampa Bay area, on Florida's west coast, home to some of the best beaches in the state.

2 thoughts on “Cotee River Seafest brings seafood, blues, and boat rides to New Port Richey’s Sims Park

  1. Why isn’t the Crafters mentioned in any advertisements, crafter of seaglass jewelry n vintage clothes. Lady Lynda Heirloom fashions.

    1. Hi Lynda. Florida Illustrated doesn’t do ads at the moment – just posts based on my personal experience at various local events. If you saw how I dress, then you would know that I have no business writing about fashion anyway (haha). Unfortunately, my time at the festival was limited and I didn’t really get a chance to check out all the arts & crafts booths that were present. That’s why I didn’t mention them here.

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