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In Pinellas Park, a weekend of chili and country music

PINELLAS PARK — If it's spring, it's time for two of this city's biggest events — the Chili Blaze and Country in the Park.

Both events are scheduled for this weekend at the England Brothers Park.

The Chili Blaze was started in 2000 by Pinellas Park Firefighters, Local 2193 as a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The event was designed to coincide with Pinellas Park's Country in the Park, taking advantage of the crowds and advertising. It has become such a success that it has become a regular part of the Pinellas Park celebration. It has raised as much as $20,000 for MDA during a single event.

The focus of the event, of course, is chili, with more than 40 teams competing for the Chili Champions trophy. But other food is available for those with less adventurous tastes,

There's also musical entertainment by the Big Brother Band, an arts and crafts show, and children's activities.

Admission is free. An all-you-can sample wristband is $8.

The fun continues from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. the next day with the granddaddy of Pinellas Park festivals, Country in the Park, which has Mark Chesnutt headlining.

Chesnutt, who plays classic country, has 14 No. 1 hits, 23 top 10 singles, four platinum albums and five gold records. But he's not the only musician playing that day. So are the Rodeo Rhythm Kings, Clemons Road, Tailspin and Mountain Memories Bluegrass. Other activities include an arts and crafts tent, pony rides, car show, trade show, tree and plant sale, moonwalk and other children's activities. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Admission is free. Lawn chairs are welcome but coolers are not.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450. Follow @ALindbergTimes on Twitter.

. if you go

A weekend of events at the park

The Chili Blaze and Country in the Park will both be held at England Brothers Park, 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park. Friday's Chili Blaze will run from 6 to 11 p.m. Admission is free. An all-you-can-sample wristband is $8. For information, to become a sponsor or to sign up to compete, contact Nick DelGrosso, (727) 687-4494, or visit chiliblaze.com.

Country in the Park runs from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. For information, call (727) 541-0895.

In Pinellas Park, a weekend of chili and country music 03/10/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:41pm]
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