The 20th annual Taste of Marco takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, at the Esplanade, 760 N. Collier Blvd., to benefit the Greater Marco Family YMCA’s Scholarship Fund.
“Taste of Marco is the YMCA’s signature event of the year,” says Leslie Drake, Community Development Director. “We use proceeds from this fundraiser to insure that all children are able to join in YMCA activities, whether or not they can afford to pay, so that no one is turned away.”
About 5,000 people are expected to attend the event, which showcases signature dishes created by Marco Island’s finest restaurants.
Chef’s Express, 176 Royal Palm Drive, is serving mini-appetizers and mini-desserts that explode with color, beauty and great taste, like their asiago cheese bowl with chicken Caesar salad, 3 tickets, and fondue fountain with marshmallows, strawberries and bananas on a skewer, also 3 tickets. Chef’s Express is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch anytime, and also caters.
Bistro Soleil, 100 Palm Street, will have beef tenderloin and gulf shrimp on skewers, 4 tickets, and vanilla bean crème brulee, 3 tickets, as well as lots of delicious surprises, prepared to perfection, according to executive chef Dennis Mergue.
Nacho Mamas, 599 S. Collier, promises to please with their specialty beef nachos, $4.00, bestselling Chicken or beef quesadillas, 4 tickets, and the very popular ceviche, with grouper, shrimp, scallops and calamari, also just 4 tickets. Nacho Mama’s is a family-style restaurant offering authentic Tex-Mex cuisine.
Restaurants collaborating with the YMCA receive 50 percent of the proceeds from their booth for the day, and donate the other 50 percent to the Scholarship Campaign. They include Bistro Soleil, Casa Mia, Famous Fish, CJ’s On The Bay, Kretch’s, Chef’s Express, Nacho Mama’s, The Dish, Crazy Flamingo, Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa – Hilton, Starbucks, Coldstone Creamery, Publix, Stilt’s, Vandy’s/5 Brothers and the Marco Island Marriott.
Live entertainment will feature the jammin’ sounds of area bands The Lords of Cool and Jim Long.
Kids will enjoy a bounce house, giant slide, rock climbing wall and sand art. Taste of Marco is always held the last Sunday in April.
“It’s planned as a family event for local community residents, to give them a chance to enjoy Marco’s dining during the off-season, while supporting a worthy cause,” according to Dale Rod, vice president of the board of directors, for the Greater Marco Family YMCA’s Special Events Committee.
The Greater Marco Family YMCA, 101 Sandhill St., is a membership-based organization open to all people. Through its scholarship fund, the YMCA is able to provide programs and services to those who may not otherwise be able to participate. All YMCA members receive the same membership benefits, regardless of scholarship assistance.
Admission is $5, free for children under 12. Food, drink and game tickets are sold in $1 increments. Parking is free, and boat slips are available. For information, call 394-3144, ext. 0.