Taste of Pine Island set for Jan. 28 – Jan. 29
The annual Taste of Pine Island has two full days of live entertainment scheduled for next Saturday and Sunday from various local bands who are guaranteed to get the crowd moving while enjoying the food that will be available to taste.
The Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island will host the event on Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and again on Jan. 29 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Strange Arrangement, WholeTones, Torched, Low Rent, the HotFlash Dancers and Pine Island Dance will provide live entertainment for the crowd to enjoy during the two-day event.
Pine Island residents Warren and Gregory VanKirk, the founders of Strange Arrangement, have been playing music for more than 10 years in surrounding areas. Warren said they have performed at some events in downtown Fort Myers, along with playing at benefits for the community.
“We are working on all original music right now,” Warren said, which is being done in their studio.
The VanKirks have also recently trademarked their band name Strange Arrangement.
Warren said their music could be versatile depending on the artist they pull into the set. He said they might collaborate with a violinist for a country song, or more guitars for heavy rock ‘n roll.
“We get the appropriate instruments or players to achieve what we are hearing in our head if we can’t do it ourselves,” Warren said. “If you learn your skill in theory and people are playing at your level you can join in kind of like a conversation.”
Warren said they have played at Taste of Pine Island for the last two or three years.
“It has always been a good time,” he said because they have the opportunity to see a lot of good people that he does not see all the time.
Gregory said he has fun every time they perform at the event. He said the combination of music and food is always good for him.
“We will pack our time,” Gregory said about the hour to 90-minute set. “We have a good idea of what we will be performing quite a bit of material.”
A Cape Coral based band, Torched, will perform at the Taste of Pine Island for the first time this year.
Drummer and vocalist Scott Alexander said the band, which has been together since July 2010, specializes in anything from classic rock to new music.
Clif Nivison plays guitar, along with providing vocals, and Jeff Crawford is the lead singer and base player for the band.
The band mostly does dance music and covers, Alexander said, which includes music for all ages that like to dance. He said they specialize in three- part harmonies that includes music from Journey to AC/DC.
Since the band formed, they have played all over Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, along with playing at Froggy’s twice a month.
Alexander said he is very excited to perform at the Taste of Pine Island for the first time.
“We are looking forward to a great crowd,” he said adding that they “are used to playing for a large group of people.”
In addition to the live entertainment, the annual event promises to provide great food, along with a kid’s area and arts and crafts vendors for the crowd.
One of the biggest attractions is the chowder cook off, which will be held on Saturday.
The Kiwanis Club added a chili cook off for the first time this year, which will be held on Sunday.
Taste of Pine Island Chairman Pat Burman said this year Bokeelia Cracker Cafe, Waterfront Restaurant, Little Lilly’s Island Deli, Mulletville Waterfront and Jug Creek Fish Company are all participating in the chowder and chili cook off this weekend.
Bokeelia resident Ray Cook will provide chili for the cook off on Sunday.
The winner of both the chowder and chili cookoffs will be chosen by those who attend the event.
The cookoff has been the most popular event at the Taste of Pine Island in years past, with anywhere between 300 to 400 people waiting in line to have a taste.
Another popular attraction for the annual Taste of Pine Island is the fish drop.
Tickets are still available for the fish drop at $5 or five for $20. Tickets can be purchased at Winn Dixie, Century 21, Capital Bank, Stonegate Bank, the Chamber of Commerce and Ad & PrintCraft Marketing & Printing Co.
The fish drop contains anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 brightly colored plastic fish that are put into a box at the top of a crane. The plastic fish, which have numbers on them, are then dropped 50 feet to the ground.
Whichever three fish lands closest to the target wins. The first place winner will receive $1,000, the second place winner will receive $500 and the third place winner will receive $250.
This year a discount is being offered on tickets. Individuals can either pay $5 for admission for a one-day pass or $8 for a two-day pass. Kids 10 years old and younger get into the event for free.
The money raised during the two-day event will go towards the Kiwanis Club’s scholarship program for island high school seniors. The club has given well over $200,000 to high school students through their scholarship program over the years.