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Taste of the Cape Sunday at Four Freedoms Park

By Staff | Feb 19, 2016

Locals and visitors can sample great dishes and enjoy some tunes this weekend in Cape Coral.

The third annual Taste of the Cape will take place on Feb. 21 from noon to 6 p.m. at Four Freedoms Park. Organized by the Gulf Coast Symphony and the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, the event will feature 19 participating venues offering tasty items, with live performances throughout the day.

“I think it’s one of the most unique tasting events out because it does combine the culinary with the cultural,” Linda Onorevole, the managing director for the Gulf Coast Symphony, said.

Admission is free; attendees only need to purchase tickets for food and drinks.

“We’re had about 7,000 people each year,” she said.

One hundred percent of the event proceeds go toward the chamber’s Education Committee’s scholarship programs and the symphony’s music education initiatives in the community.

“Last year, we came in at about $5,000 for each organization,” Onorevole said.

Organizers are hoping to draw an even larger crowd this year.

“The weather’s supposed to be very good and, because of the history of the event, a lot of people wait for it,” she said, adding that the goal is to double last year’s total and raise $10,000 for each group.

“The ultimate goal is for the funds to flow right back into the community,” Onorevole said.

As of Thursday, some of the returning participants included Iguana Mia, Cedar Cafe and the Monkey Bar and Steakhouse, along with Zirilli’s Chilly Treats, which specializes in homemade Italian ice.

“They’re a really big crowd favorite,” she said.

Some new faces this year are the Two Amigos Mexican-American Cuisine Bar & Grill, Water City Grill, Overtime Pizzeria & Sports Pub and Snow Dreams, which will have bacon cotton candy.

Each venue will offer a $3 sample item, along with other menu items priced up to $8.

“There’s everything from grilled mahi tacos, to sushi,” Onorevole said.

Other options include falafel, tropical tuna, pad thai, prime rib sliders, garlic Parmesan fries, carnitas platter and pimento cheese dip, as well as coconut macaroons, blonde bread pudding and more.

As for liquid refreshments, there will be sangria, margaritas and virgin coconut mojitos.

“There’s also beer and wine,” she said.

The Gulf Coast Symphony will perform its “Symphony at Sunset” concert at 4:30 p.m. According to Onorevole, attendees will listen to selections that include pops music and light classical favorites.

“Prior to that, there are local schools performing,” she said.

Scheduled to perform are the Mariner High School Jazz Band, Christa McAuliffe Elementary School Players, Studio Elite Acro and Dance Academy and Ida S. Baker High School Wind Ensemble.

The groups will play from 12:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

“The performances all take place on stages on the beach,” Onorevole said.

Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets; coolers and pets are not permitted.

“There are some art vendors coming,” she said, noting that there are more than a dozen. “We have everything from visual artists, who are displaying their work, to jewelry and hat designers.”

Over 15 local businesses will also be on site supporting the event.

“They will have materials about their business there,” Onorevole said.

For the youth, there will be a face painter on hand.

“Four Freedoms has a really good park, as well,” she said.

Parking will be available at Club Square, off of Leonard Street near the Southwest Florida Military Museum and in the fields next to Four Freedoms. Shuttles will run from 11:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“There are going to shuttles running to help with parking,” Onorevole said.

For more information, call the symphony at (239) 277-1700 or visit: tasteofcapecoral.com.

Four Freedoms Park is at 4818 Tarpon Court.