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Annual Taste of Pine Island this weekend

By Staff | Feb 24, 2016

Finally, after weeks of waiting, the Taste of Pine Island will finally arrive this weekend.

“As everyone is aware, we’ve had the rainiest January ever,” Joy Veatch said. “But finally after all the rain, and the Bobby Holloway Field is in much better shape, the ‘Taste of Pine Island’ will take place this weekend: Saturday, Feb. 27 and Sunday Feb. 28.”

The event will be at Phillips Park at 5675 Sesame Drive, behind the fire station in Bokeelia. Saturday’s hours are from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m,. and Sunday’s hours are from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

“Single day tickets are $6, two-day passes are $10 and children 10-and-under are free,” organizer Tim Saulsbery said. “We expect more than 3,000 people to attend this year. We hope, even with the rescheduling, everyone will be able to attend the two-day event and support our efforts to raise funds for scholarships for the youth of Pine Island, as well as the many other worthwhile programs that the Pine Island Kiwanis sponsor.”

“The Kiwanis Club is working with the Pine Island Food Pantry to incorporate a food drive with this year’s Taste of Pine Island,” Saulsbery said. “Bring 3 or more non-perishable food items for a donation to the Food Pantry and receive $1 off your entrance fee. Helping to provide food for Pine Island residents who need it is a perfect fit for the event and we are honored with the opportunity.”

“We will have a wide variety of food, craft vendors and music,” Saulsbery continued. “The phenomenal live entertainment this year features something for everyone. All of the bands are either from Pine Island or play regularly here so they offer authentic ‘Taste of Pine Island’ music.”

In conjunction with Taste of Pine Island, the 13th annual Southwest Florida Chowder Cook-off Contest will take place Saturday and the 5th annual Chili Cook-off Contest will be held Sunday. The public will be able to sample and judge the entries.

The Fish Drop will also take place Sunday at 4 p.m., with a $1,000 grand prize, $500 second place prize and $250 third place prize. Fish Drop tickets and Taste of Pine Island tickets may be purchased at the event or in advance at Century 21 Realty in St. James City and the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce in Matlacha.

“New for this year’s Taste of Pine Island is ‘Walk the Tower’ with a Firefighter,” Deputy Chief Ben Mickuleit said. “You can walk to the top of our fire tower during the Taste of Pine Island to get a bird’s eye view of the island. The tower is located at the fire station right behind the Taste. The tower walk will be held from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. See you at the top!”

The Taste of Pine Island is the primary fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island Youth Scholarship Fund. This year the club hopes to raise over $25,000 at the event to assist Pine Island students with their higher education costs.

Since 1985, the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island has provided over $250,000 in scholarships and has helped with many projects and organizations that benefit the youth of the area. With your help we look forward to continuing this proud tradition.

The 2016 co-sponsors of Taste of Pine Island are Cambio Dermatology, Lee County Electric Co-op, Budweiser, Waste Pro, Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, Honc Industries, Pine Island Realty, Inc., Beasley Broadcasting Group, Island Commerce Park, and Circle K.

The Kiwanis Club is a community service organization that meets most Wednesday mornings at Bert’s in Matlacha. For more information on the Kiwanis and the Taste of Pine Island check out our new website at www.pikiwanis.com or e-mail Taste of Pine Island chairman, Tim Saulsbery at timsaulsbery@yahoo.com or call him at #239-910-2263.

Please contact Saulsbery by phone at #239-910-2263 or email him at timsaulsbery@yahoo.com for more information.