A record-shattering crowd estimated at near 500 people flocked to the Gasparilla Inn & Club for its seventh annual open house Wednesday.
"It's amazing," said Jack Damioli, president and general manager of the Gasparilla Inn & Club.
The open house has become the unofficial opening of the island season under Damioli. The Inn officially opens for its 99th season Thursday.
Chef Javier Criado serves up tasty mini-reubens.
Many island residents make their way back to the island just to take in the open house and many rounder's (year-round island residents) stroll or ride golf carts to see what the Inn has in store for the season.
The crowd arrived early this year with lines snaking to the street nearly 30 minutes before the 5 p.m. opening. The lines remained out to the street with less than an hour left in the two-hour event.
The stars of the open house are always the creative team of Chef Peter Timmins. Crowds filing through the gleaming $500,000 remodeled kitchen were treated to tapas-style bites of appetizers, entrees and desserts from a kitchen crew that took three days to prepare.
See the Oct. 18 edition of the Gasparilla Gazette for the complete story with photos.