Located in the rolling hills of eastern Pasco County, Dade City typifies what many people think of as “old” or “historic” Florida by virtue of its physical features, its pioneer heritage, and the spirit of its residents. Established in 1889, Dade City is the county seat of Pasco County, and also serves as a commercial center for an area encompassing more than 71,000 residents. Dade City’s downtown restaurants and antique gift shops are popular attractions for visitors from the Tampa Bay and Lakeland areas.
Dade City’s local economy has historically been tied to agriculture, centered primarily on citrus and cattle production. Over time employment has shifted more to service, government and retail jobs, many of which are clustered around Dade City’s central core. The City’s downtown district was an early participant in the Main Street Program, and today continues to thrive and promote Dade City as a successful example of community redevelopment effort.
Two excellent educational institutions, St. Leo University and Pasco-Hernando State College, are located in the Greater Dade City area, as is the Pioneer Florida Museum. Additionally, Dade City plays host each year to a large number of popular community-sponsored events, including the Kumquat Festival, Church Street Christmas and the Country Christmas Stroll. Other events include a half marathon run, the Dade “Battle of Brilliance” for bicycle racing fans, and a “Classic Car Cruise-in” held the first Saturday of each month.