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Let's DIG IN! Taste of the Beach hits the town this weekend

May 12, 2011
Come out to the 16th annual Taste of the Beach and Business Fair sponsored by the Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce this Sunday, May 15, taking place at Bay Oaks Recreational Campus (2731 Oak St.) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The 2011 Taste of the Beach celebrates its second consecutive year at Bay Oaks by featuring participating restaurants, live entertainment from 1 to 5 p.m., arts and craft vendors, the server challenge and a Model A Club antique car show —all under the shaded mossy oaks outdoors.

As of Wednesday, 15 local restaurants have signed on to provide fare for the food-tasting portion of the event. They are: Yucatan Beach Stand; Skye’s Mexican & More; Jo Jo’s at Pink Shell Resort & Spa; Parrot Key Caribbean Grill; Big Game Waterfront Grill; Charley’s Boathouse Grill; Doc Ford’s Fort Myers Beach; Chloe’s at DiamondHead; The Fish House; Surf Club; Chunky Tuna; Sandbar and Grill; Nemo’s on the Beach; Maria’s; Merlo’s.

The business fair, inside Bay Oaks gymnasium, will offer chamber business booths, a microphone-handed emcee geared to drive traffic to each business table to help sell and promote products and services and all-day door prizes —including a Grand Prize— with a combined value of more than $1,500. The Grand Prize includes a three-day/two-night stay at Pink Shell Beach Resort, private boat tour and a “progressive dinner” on the Beach with limousine service to the restaurants.

The participating businesses include U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Find a Home Give a Home pet adoption, Bath Fitter, Bennett Chiropractic, Crazy Woman Kayaks, Costco, The Beach Health Center, Kiwanis, Kat Music with 9 Lives, The Fort Myers Princess, News-Press, Lani Kai Beach Resort, Krusty Pete’s, Red Coconut RV Park, Florida Community Bank, Gavin’s Ace Hardware, Sanibel Captiva Bank, AAA Travel, Sprint, Residence Inn, Snowzone, Bailey Matthews Shell Museum, Esterra Spa, Harbour House, Lions Club, CERT, Relay for Life, Alliance for the Arts, Key West Express,

Heidrick and Company Insurance and Friends of Matanzas Pass.

Entry forms for door prizes can be found at the business booths. Register at the Chamber booth for the Grand Prize drawing. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite fare.

If you are interested in the music, National Recording Artist “Cadillac Blue” (known for their hit, “Wide Open,” which is Danica Patrick’s theme song) will headline the live acts. “Free Spirit” (classic rock/contemporary music) and “Legacy of Steel” featuring Harold Antoine (steel pan music) are the other live groups.

Crafters include Bayside Whitstable Sales, R & B Mobile Vending, Frumple Factory, Silver Sage, Nancy Eaton Designs, C Shell Flowers, Malibu Toes, SeaBea Jewelry, Allurings, Fashion & Sport Sunglasses, Arctic Body & Bath, Zdenka Fiala, Kira-Michael Gems, Coastal Creations, Love Boat Ice Cream, Itel Enterprises, Night Hawk Ventures, Aces Designs, Lavoisler and CSF Enterprises with Mini Bungy Trampoline.

“We’ve chosen to combine Taste of the Beach and what had been the Business Expo which is now a Member Business Fair. It’s a great opportunity to be able to showcase our businesses whether its food or retail/office and give everyone a one-stop shopping extravaganza that will have entertainment, food, fun and great information about the businesses on and around Fort Myers Beach,” said FMB Chamber President John Albion. “We are very fortunate in bringing this all together at such a great location. It should be an excellent afternoon for everyone to really kick off mid-May and look forward to the remainder of the year.”

The 2010 Taste of the Beach committee moved the event back onto Estero Island and into the shade of Bay Oaks. Many Beach residents and visitors who attended last year’s Taste enjoyed the centrally located and neutral site on Oak Street.

This year’s committee is working hard to bring the extra elements into play.

“Now that we have this great location, we are looking to improve the overall event,” said 2011 Chairman Steve DeAngelis, Jr. “Eventually, we want to turn this into a food festival with a carnival atmosphere in the future. We’ve had great cooperation with the Town of Fort Myers Beach and the staff at Bay Oaks.”

Tickets for the event are $5 per person with free admission for ages 12 and under. There is plenty of close parking.

Chamber officials are encouraging business members to sign up for the fair before the Thursday cutoff time. Call 454-7500 for more details. Prospective volunteers are also asked to call Jane at the chamber office (454-7500) to help in the cause. Visit TasteOfFortMyersBeach.com for more information.

Sponsors for the 2011 Taste of the Beach involve Quenzel & Associates; Nervous Nellies; Pink Shell; Suncoast Beverages; US Foods; Southern Wine & Spirits; Veolia; Clear Channel, Lee County Elections; and The Beach Observer/Bulletin as the award sponsor.

Look for the official guide in the Beach Observer within this issue or at the Taste of Beach event (Chamber table inside gym) at Bay Oaks.

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