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Taste of the Beach

By Staff | May 2, 2017

Get ready. Get set. Serve!

Local Fort Myers Beach restaurant servers are practicing their skills as they prepare for the annual servers competition, a key feature of Taste of the Beach.

“It’s a lot of fun and very spirited,” Cham-ber President Jacki Liszak said.

The 22nd Annual Taste of the Beach is a signature event of the Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. It will take place Sunday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Attendees should come hungry: the event showcases many of the island’s delicious dishes. Approximately 17 restauranteurs will set up booths along Old San Carlos Boulevard from Third Street to Bayfront Park, which will be shut down to vehicle traffic.

Fifteen Estero and San Carlos Island restaurants will be selling samples of their signature dishes and competing for various categories: best appetizer, meat dish, seafood dish, chicken dish, dessert and decorated booth. They’re also trying to win the favor of the event’s attendees for people’s choice award. The Lee County Elections Office will help tally the winners. There are many restaurants participating in this event, all of which are members of the Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Already signed up: Yucatan Beach Stand, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Bootleggers Waterfront Grill, Royal Scoop, Pinchers, Castaways Bar & Grill and Nervous Nellie’s.

A beer tent will also be open selling brews. Proceeds from the beer tent will benefit the Friends of the Art group. Jo List and Friends will provide live music during the event.

New this year is a vendor village in its own area, said Chamber President Jacki Liszak. Before, the vendors would be scattered throughout the restaurants, but this year they are grouped together. In the village, entertainers will perform for attendees.

The main spectacle, however, is the servers competition beginning at 2 p.m. Teams of servers compete against other restaurant servers to successfully perform a variety of task. There’s the server’s obstacle course, with stairs, doors and surprises, as well as a servers relay race.

Last year, servers from Pincher’s Crab Shack placed first.

“It’s a great day for the community to get out and sample all of the amazing food we have on the island,” Liszak said.

The Chamber is still looking for volunteers to help sell tickets and check people in. Volunteers get free entry to the Taste of the Beach, 10 free food tickets, and water. To volunteer, email info@fmbchamber.com.

Entry to the event is $5 for adults and children 12 years old and up. Children under 12 are free. Food samples can be picked with food tickets, which are $1 per ticket. Liszak said on average, the samples are about five tickets each.

“Taste of the Beach brings a spirit of community to the island and highlights the talent we have, as well as great restaurants and food we have,” Liszak said.