Prepare your taste buds for a real workout this weekend, as the 15th annual Taste of the Beach heads to Bay Oaks Rec Center, 2731 Oak St., Sunday, May 16, from noon to 6 p.m., hosted by the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Happily stroll and savor the local flavor that 21 (so far) Fort Myers Beach and its surrounding area restaurants have to offer, judged by celebrity tasters, while under the mossy oaks while experiencing the music of Sean Carney and other blues greats.
You'll experience tasty treats from such local hot spots as Nemo's, Matanzas Restaurant, Big Game Bar and Grill, the Yucatan Beach Stand, Junkanoo, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Pincher's Crab Shack, Lin's Garden, Rita's Italian Ice, the Fish Monger and more, boasting the best menu items they have to offer, including shrimp mancini (Nemo's), General Tao's chicken (Lin's Garden), fried pickles (Big Game), ahi tuna (Yucatan), Italian ice (Rita's) and so much more.
"We're very fortunate to have this event, and we're very happy to bring this event back onto Fort Myers Beach," said FMB Chamber of Commerce President John Albion at a recent Town Council meeting. "We think having it at Bay Oaks Recreational Campus is a perfect location."
The ever-famed server competition will yet again take place, where local waiters and waitresses compete for the title of best server.
The upcoming 2010 Taste of the Beach will feature entertainment from Bluesman Sean Carney who, along with his band, won the 2007 International Blues Challenge. In 2010, The Sean Carney Band will perform in twelve countries, including debut concerts in Mexico and Czech Republic.
Taste of the Beach
Sunday, May 16, noon to 6 p.m.
What: Tasting delicacies from near and far, including the Yucatan Beach Stand, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Big Game, Pincher's, the Fish Monger, Nemo's, Lin's Garden, Matanza's Restaurant, Rita's Italian Ice and more.
Where: Bay Oaks Rec Center, 2731 Oak St.
Hosted by: The FMB Chamber of Commerce.
Unlike last year, the 2010 Taste of the Beach will have plenty of shade under the mossy oak trees at Bay Oaks. There will also be vendors inside the Bay Oaks Gymnasium for a break from the humidity.
Children will have two playgrounds on site for outdoor fun. Come and enjoy some of the best restaurant food and beverages the Beach offers.
Back in April, John said he hoped Bay Oaks would be an annual home for the chamber event.
"We're hopeful that finally after 14 years we can actually have a permanent home for Taste of the Beach which has been a very nomadic event," he said. "It's a very, very important event for our area restaurants and, due to this economy, it's important to continue to show off some of the wonderful elements of our island."
Tickets for the event are $5 per person with a family package of $10 per family. Parking is free.
Parking may be a bit limited, so try to carpool or ride the trolley if you can. The lot of town hall, right across from Bay Oaks, is available for use, as well as Topps Supermarket and the rec center. If looking to get creative with your parking, pay attention to the "no parking" areas, to prevent an unwanted tow or fine.
BOB PETCHER also contributed to this article.