One of the biggest parties of the year comes after tourist season ends, when locals come out to feast on the offerings of local dining spots and enjoy music and games. Over the next two weekends it’s food, glorious food at three area “Taste of” days:
20th annual Taste of Marco food, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Esplanade, 760 N. Collier Blvd. Each participating restaurant will receive 50 percent of the proceeds of their restaurant’s sales of food following the event, and the remainder will go to the Greater Marco Family YMCA “Strong Kids” Campaign.
Look for foods from ice cream to the specialties of island hotelier Marriott among its participants: Bistro Soleil, Casa Mia, Famous Fish, CJ’s on the Bay, Kretch’s, Chef’s Express, Nacho Mama’s, The Dish, Crazy Flamingo, Marco Hilton, Starbucks, Coldstone Creamery, Publix, Stilts, Vandy’s/5 Brothers and Marco Marriott.
There’s live entertainment featuring Lords of Cool and Jim Long. At the Marco event there are also giveaways, a 50/50 raffle, and for kids a bounce house, giant slide, rock-climbing wall and sand art.
All proceeds benefit the Greater Marco Family YMCA.
Location: Esplanade, 760 N. Collier Blvd., Marco
Admission: $5, younger than 12 free. Food, drink and game tickets are $1 each. Parking is free.
Information: 394-3144, ext. 0
Third annual Taste of Estero, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Estero-Gulf Coast Kiwanis Club presents this event, with proceeds to benefit Joseph Coller Memorial Endowment Fund for local students at FGCU, Harry Chapin Food Bank and local charities for children’s needs. The event is at Estero Community Park, and admission and parking are free, but attendees are asked to bring a nonperishable item of food for the food bank.
The event includes samples from between 20 and 30 local restaurants and live entertainment. The offerings will rum a delectable range, said spokesman Mike Wobrock.
“Seafood, sushi, Italian, chicken wings. You’re going to have sliders. There are 20 restaurants, live bands and a kids play area. This is a family event and kids play all day,” he said
No pets or coolers are allowed.
Location: Estero Community Park, 9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., off Corkscrew Road between U.S. 41 and Three Oaks Parkway
Admission: Free. Tickets are sold in $1 increments and dishes will cost from $1 to $4. Parking is free.
27th Annual Taste of Collier, noon to 4 p.m. May 2. In its 27th year, the annual Taste of Collier is 35 restaurants strong, and it has turned the tasting day into an all-around food event. For the second year, student chefs will show their prowess in fruit and vegetable carvings. There will be cooking demonstrations and the popular ice carvers will compete again for literally the coolest sculpture award.
“Of course, it’s all about the food,” said Ray Singer, event chairman, for the announcement of the event.
“But there will also be plenty of things to do in addition to enjoying tasting samples from some of our area’s best restaurants. We’re going to have a live auction with Mayor Bill Barnett and Trey Radel, the former WINK News anchor, and they’ll have some really fantastic packages for bidding. We will also have a full afternoon of live music, an ice carving contest and chef demonstrations. This year, there is also the Bayfront Boat Show. It’s a community event the entire family can enjoy.”
Proceeds will benefit the Collier County Chapter of the American Red Cross, St. Matthew’s House and the ProStart culinary programs for local high school students. Nora Butler created this year’s poster and T-shirt artwork. Symon, who plays pop/rock, Mike Simons World Music and The Stacey Allison Group will help the crowd work off some musical energy between tastes.
Location: Bayfront, corner of Goodlette-Frank Road and Fifth Avenue South
Admission: $5, ages younger than 5 free. Each 3-ounce food tasting is priced from $3 to $5. Parking is free across Goodlette-Frank Road at Grand Central Station area.