Taste of Pine Island to take place this weekend
What do yo get when you combine food and falling fish? The Taste of Pine Island and Fish Drop. Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island are pleased to present this annual event on Sunday, Jan. 24, at the Bobby Holloway Jr. Memorial Field at the island center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to this year’s event is $5 for adults and children under age 10 will be admitted for fee when accompanied by a paid adult. The reasonable admission entitles attendees to participate as judges in the seventh annual Seafood Chowder Cook-off as well as a day of sampling offerings from local restaurants, shopping the more than 70 vendor booths and live entertainment from several area performers. In light of the recent disaster in Haiti, the Kiwanis will donate 10 percent of the gate to relief efforts in Haiti.
The Taste will feature more than 11 local restaurants which will serve up a variety of food offerings. Visitors will find everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to the freshest seafood the Gulf has to offer. Restaurants participating in this year’s Taste include the Waterfront Restaurant in St. James City, Sandy Hook Rib and Fish House in Matlacha, Hog Tastic, Liberty Concessions, the Island Grill at the island center, Moretti’s Seafood in Matlacha, Perfect Cup in Matlacha, Winn-Dixie, Phils Grill in St. James City, Jackie’s Family Restaurant in St. James City and Gulf Seafood in Bokeelia.
As for vendors, visitors can shop till they drop as local artisans will offer arts and crafts as well as fused glass, fishing charters, hand bags, jams, jellies, chutney and hot sauce, jewelry, homemade cookies, sun glasses and much more.
Touted as a family event, the kids will have plenty to do to keep themselves occupied as a special area of the venue will be set aside just for the young and young at heart. The children can enjoy train rides, test their nerve on the rock wall, show off their muscles with a strongman competition, kick off their shoes to enter a bounce house and more.
Taking the stage this year at the Taste will be the Pine Island Trio, Alice Grouper, Strange Arrangement and a group which simply goes by the name Youth Strings Quartet.
Familiar to the island is the popular Pine Island Trio, featuring Bob and Pasty Allen along with Gail Keel, who have performed at many popular events including the From Our Hearts event, Breast Fest. Back for the winter months, the Trio spends the warmer months touring throughout the country playing bluegrass favorites at campgrounds, pubs and headlining at country fairs as well as for private parties.
Another island favorite is Alice Grouper which will perform their special blend of Southern Rock. Alice Grouper has played regularly at Mulletville in Matlacha as well as a number of fund raising events on Pine Island.
Awarding-winning musicians, Strange Arrangement is headed up by twin brothers, Warren and Gregory Van Kirk. These young men have introduced their unique style of music to listeners at area venues that include Backstreets and Leapin Lizard in Cape Coral and Miceli’s Restaurant in Matlacha as well as Eddie Fish Bones, Jonny Alloy’s, Stevie Tomatoes and Zombiecom in Fort Myers.
Also during the Taste, for those who would like a more low-key musical atmosphere, head on over to the dining tent to enjoy the high school group, Youth Strings Quartet. Featured is long-time island resident, Stormy Futch who, along with his fellow students, is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Among the highlights of the day will be the annual Fish Drop. Tickets for the Fish Drop are $5 each and puts players in the running for a cash prize. At about 4 p.m. on the day of the Taste, hundreds of brightly colored plastic fish will be hauled to the top of a crane. As the fish plummet to earth judges will watch to see which numbered fish falls closest to the bullseye. The person holding the number of that fish will be declared the winner. Cash prizes include $1,000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third. Last year’s winner was Pine Island resident, B. Faulkner, 7, followed by second place winner, Jane Zapks of Pine Island and Dave Kocrek of Ohio. Players need not be present to win and advance tickets can be purchased at Century 21 at the island center, TIB Bank, Pine Island Chamber of Commerce or any Kiwanis member.
The Taste of Pine Island is the primary fund raiser of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island. Proceeds from the event are earmarked for scholarships to college bound Pine Island students and other causes supported by the Kiwanis on Pine Island.
For more information, contact event coordinator, Pat Burman at 283-0777 or visit TasteofPineIsland.com