The 16th annual Taste of the Beach and Business Fair sponsored by the Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce opens Sunday at Bay Oaks Recreational Campus from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. “We’ve chosen to combine Taste of the Beach and what had been the Business Expo, which is now a Member Business Fair," said FMB Chamber President John Albion. "It’s a great opportunity to be able to showcase our businesses whether it's 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." The 2011 Taste of the Beach features restaurants, live entertainment from 1 to 5 p.m., arts and crafts vendors, a server challenge and a Model A Club antique car show.
Fifteen restaurants will provide fare for the food-tasting: Charley’s Boathouse Grill, Big Game Waterfront Grill, Parrott Key Caribbean Grill, JoJo’s at Pink Shell, Skye’s Mexican and More, Yucatan Beach Stand, Surf Club, Doc Ford’s, Chloe’s at Diamondhead Beach Resort, The Fish House, The Sandbar & Grille, Nemo’s On The Beach, Merlo’s Bar & Grille, Maria’s and Chunky Tuna Café and Bakery.
The business fair inside Bay Oaks gymnasium will 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.
Participating businesses include the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Bath Fitter, Bennett Chiropractic, Crazy Woman Kayaks, Costo, 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 & Company Insurance and Friends of Matanzas Pass.
National recording artist “Cadillac Blue” (known for the hit, “Wide Open,” which is race car driver 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.
The 2010 Taste of the Beach Committee moved the event back onto Estero Island this year.
“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 are $5 per person with free admission for ages 12 and under.
Chamber officials are encouraging business members to sign up for the fair before the Thursday cutoff time. Volunteers are also asked to call (239) 454-7500) to help in the cause. Go to tasteoffortmyersbeach.com for more information.