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Taste of Pine Island food festival set for Sunday

By Staff | Jan 24, 2009

One of the best-attended events on Pine Island will take place Sunday as the Kiwanis of Greater Pine Island present the Taste of Pine Island. The gates will open at 11 a.m. and festivities will continue until 5 p.m.
As in years past, this event is the venue for area restaurants and businesses to showcase their wares and features a day of food, music, vendors and fun for the entire family. Staged at the Bobby Holloway Memorial Baseball Field at Phillips Park, island restaurants will offer up specialties from their menus which will include seafood dishes, items from the grill, pulled pork, deserts and much more.
In addition to a wide array of food offerings, the Kiwanis also will host the annual Seafood Chowder Cook-off where both professional and novice cooks will vie for cash prizes. Tickets to the event automatically make guests a judge in this well received contest. Each of the participants will supply a sample of his or her chowder for judging and after the votes have been tallied, the winner of the “People’s Choice” will be announced. Past winners of the People’s Choice Award were the Waterfront Restaurant, which won in 2004, ’05 and ’06; the Lazy Flamingo restaurant in 2007; and last year’s winner, the Perfect Cup from Matlacha.
Among the restaurants slated to participate in this year’s event are Jackie’s Family Restaurant from St. James City, Moretti’s Seafood Restaurant in Matlacha, the Waterfront Restaurant and Marina in St. James City, Sandy Hook Rib and Fish House in Matlacha, Port of Peace in Bokeelia, Domino’s Pizza in St. James City, Pork Bellies BBQ in St. James City, Winn-Dixie in St. James City and Liberty Concessions of Punta Gorda.
Other vendors and organizations which will be on hand at the Taste include firefighters from the Matlacha-Pine Island Fire Control District, which will be serving margaritas; Traders Hitching Post with Native American jewelry; the Calusa Land Trust with island information; Capt. Dick May with Easy Rider Charters; Clarence Hester with woodwork; Oh Soap with hand-made natural soaps; Kingfisher Aerial and YouCanFly.com with flight tour information; Paradise Gardens with jarred tropical fruits; Pine Island Community Church youth group, who will be selling water; Florida In A Jar with mango butter, key lime jelly, guava jelly and more; Order of the Golden Brush with artwork from local artists; Dottie Kernzke with hand-painted purses; Stephanie Martin with dichroic jewelry; MPI Properties with real estate information and free items; Pine Island Cycles with riding information; Juanita D’Anna with arts and crafts; Laura DeVoe with hand-crafted jewelry; Mike Woods with gems; Phillis McGormick with chair messages; Alison Laccetti with fused glass pendants; Sue Eslinger with African butterfly clips; Karen’s Kreations with fused glass jewelry; Champ Planet with gourmet pickles and more; Mariner High School with cakes and cookies; Kiwanis Koolies and collectibles; Home for Habitat with snow-cones; I Like It Like That Bakery with cheese cakes; Tooth Fairy with Shamrock Ice; ENR Enterprises with solar and electric solutions information; N. Kae Creation with hand-painted furniture; Roger and Sue Bowery with angel’s bracelets; Creative Coast Preschool with games for the kids; Beacon of HOPE with a raffle; Pine Island Garden Club with a raffle; Bert’s Pine Bay Gallery with Pine Island treasures; Douglas Loccisano with fashion and sports; and Ad&PrintCraft with Web site design and printing and many more.
Among the festivities, the Kiwanis also has arranged for numerous island musicians to perform throughout the day. The live music will feature the Pine Island Trio with Bob and Patsy Allen. New to this year’s entertainment will be the popular band Dogfish, with a special guest appearance by award-winning lyricist Cindy Walsh. This group will play popular numbers like “My Baby She Loves Me” and “Who’s the Fool” and more.
Also joining the line-up is the Skeeterland Band. Spend the afternoon with Skeeterland and enjoy a slice of Americana as they perform the area’s best bluegrass music. A popular favorite at Woody’s Waterside every other Thursday evening and other venues through out Southwest Florida, the Skeeterland Band is well known for its renditions of traditional favorites like “Black Mountain Rag,” “Lifeboat” and “Long Gone.”
In addition to restaurant representatives, other vendors will be on hand to sell their wares and include jewelry artists, craft items for home and garden, clothing, T-shirts, jams and jellies and more. As for the kids, Kiwanis is bringing back the famed rock-climbing wall.
Among the highlights of the day will be the Fish Drop. At 4 p.m., those holding tickets for this event will gather near a bullseye when more than a thousand brightly colored, numbered fish will be hoisted to the top of a crane and then dropped to the ground below. The person holding the numbered ticket of the fish that lands closest to the center of the bullseye will be declared the winner.
“We would like to extend a special thank you to all that helped sponsor this great event,” said event organizer Pat Burman.
According the Burman, this year’s sponsors include SunTrust Bank, Greater Pine Island Water Association and Honc Industries, which sponsored the stage; chowder contest sponsors; LCEC, event sponsors; Budweiser, Carl’s Service, Pine Island Realty, Cove Farms, Riverside Bank, Ad&PrintCraft, Southwest Capital Bank, Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, Nautical Mile Enterprises, Vesuvio Restaurant and Brinson G. Melville, III.
Tickets at the gate will be $5 per adults and children under 10 will be admitted for free. Parking and bus shuttle service is included in the price of admission.
For more information, call Burman at 283-0777, or visit the Kiwanis Web site at www.PineIslandKiwanis.com or www.TasteofPineIsland.com.