In a celebration of music and local food that aspires to delight the senses, the annual Symphony at Sunset will be held in conjunction this year with the city's first-ever Taste of the Cape.
The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral teamed up with the Gulf Coast Symphony to host the culinary event in combination with the free outdoor concert. Approximately 20 area restaurants will be on hand to serve up their signature dishes, alongside a variety of craft beers, wines and margaritas.
The event will take place Sunday at Four Freedoms Park, with the gates opening at 1 p.m.
In its sixth year, the concert has been a success, drawing from 1,500 to 1,800 people each year.
"It's just a wonderful, cultural musical event," Doni Landefeld, the president of the symphony's board and a member of the chamber's Education Committee, who is serving as the event chairperson, said.
"So, why not make it an even bigger event?" she asked.
By partnering up for the dual event, the groups can expand their scope and community reach.
"We thought it would bring more people. We thought it would make the event more appealing," she said. "I think we're the last town in Southwest Florida to have a 'Taste' event."
Most, if not all, of the participating restaurants are located in the city.
"Keeping it in Cape," Landefeld said.
Iguana Mia, Pho Vinh, Nevermind and Sans Sushi are perhaps among the more well-known venues taking part, as well as Slate's, Cedar Cafe, Miz Catherine's and Aji Limon.
Slate's serves up Cajun favorites, and Cedar Cafe specializes in Lebanese and Mediterranean dishes. Miz Catherine's is a gourmet dessert cafe, while Aji Limon is a fixture for all things Peruvian.
"We've got a pretty good representation," she said.
The event will also feature classics, from prime rib and chicken wings, to Coney dogs.
As for refreshments, domestic beverages will include Budweiser, Michelob and others, along with a variety of wines like Kendall-Jackson. The craft beers will cover SweetWater, Goose Island and more.
In addition, Iguana Mia will mix up its famous margaritas.
Food and beverages are obtained with tickets, which are available for purchase on site.
The prices range from $2 to $9.
Admission is free to the tasting and concert.
"There are no other free 'Taste' events in Southwest Florida," Landefeld said.
"All the others charge just to get in the gate," she said.
The Gulf Coast Symphony will take the main stage at 4:30 p.m.
"The day culminates with the Symphony at Sunset performance," Landefeld said. "We'll play a variety of pop selections, some light classical music and other recognized tunes."
Prior to the main event, three Cape schools will take turns performing on the side stage for attendees. The Challenger Middle School Jazz Band kicks it off at 1:30 p.m., followed by the Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary School Chorus at 2:45 p.m., then the Trafalgar Elementary School Chorus at 3:30 p.m.
"The weather's supposed to be fantastic," she said. "It's just going to be a really fun day."
No outside coolers or food will be permitted, and pets must be left at home.
"We encourage them to being lawn chairs, to bring blankets - if they're going to spend the day and soak in the sun," Landefeld said, adding that high-top tables will be on site, but they are limited.
"Enjoy the music, enjoy the food," she said.
Sunnybrook Avenue and Beach Court will be closed to vehicular traffic; enter from Sunnybrook and Cape Coral Parkway. Handicap parking will be at Ice SSSScreamin and the adjacent SunTrust.
"There will be limited parking on site," Landefeld said.
Parking will be available at the Capital Bank, at 506 E. Cape Coral Parkway, and in the empty lots located to the west of the Sunset Towers in the 400 block of East Cape Coral Parkway.
"It will be well marked, and there will be volunteers in the field to direct drivers," she said.
In addition, shuttles will run from the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library on Leonard Street and from the Club Square and Big John parking lots, located off of Southeast 47th Terrace.
Proceeds from the event will benefit student scholarships and music education programs. Landefeld added that Iguana Mia plans to donate 100 percent of the sales of its margaritas to the causes.
"We're giving so much to students in our community," she said.
For more information about the Cape chamber, visit: www.capecoralchamber.com.