Best of the Beach
The Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce hosts the 22nd annual “Taste of The Beach” on Sunday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is popular food festival will feature roughly 15 beach and near-island restaurants, as well as a new Vendor Village that will sell crafts, jewelry and clothing among numerous other items; an updated Server’s Contest; and live music from Jo List & Friends from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for children and adults, with all kids 12 & under free; food tickets are $1 each, with an average plate costing approximately $5.
Local restaurants including Bootleggers Waterfront Grille, Castaway’s, Nervous Nellie’s, Parrot Key Caribbean Grille and Royal Scoop will serve samples of their signature dishes that are available for purchase. They will compete for the top “Taste of The Beach” Awards, such as Best Appetizer, Best Dessert, Best Chicken Dish, Best Seafood Dish, Best Decorated Booth and the People’s Choice Award. Celebrity judges will choose the winners, with the Lee County Board of Elections running the People’s Choice polling location, with all victors announced at 4 p.m.
The updated Server’s Competition in the Vendor Village requires your favorite servers to move up & down stairs, through tires and a maze, and other challenges for cash prizes, with the contest at 2 p.m.
“’Taste of the Beach’ serves as the kickoff to the summer season, and to boost visitation to the island during the off-season,” said Jacki Liszak, executive director of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber. “It is the perfect outing to finally take that deep-breath sigh, now that tourist season is over, and us locals get to rediscover and enjoy Paradise, knowing we made it through another year! The coolest part and what I love the most is seeing the entire community come out and enjoy themselves. It is a showcase of some of the very best food on the island, all in one place, and with great music to boot.”
The Chamber expects over 3,000 people to attend this year. As in previous festivals, the Fort Myers Beach Friends of The Arts will sell beer as a fundraiser for that organization.
The Chamber needs volunteers to assist with admission, ticket and water sales, along with set-up and clean-up duties. Volunteers receive free admission, 10 complimentary food tickets, and free water, with morning and mid-afternoon shifts available. Old San Carlos Boulevard closes for the event from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., though it will remain open for the parking lots at 475 San Carlos Boulevard, with Third Street being a two-lane road for the day.
To sign up your restaurant or business, or volunteer, contact Jacki at the Chamber at 239-454-7500, go to www.tasteoffortmyersbeach.com, or email email@example.com; Only Chamber members may compete in the restaurant category.