Clear blue skies and balmy mid-70 degree temperatures enticed the largest crowd ever to attend the Taste of Matlacha in Matlacha Community Park on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Event coordinator Bill Stoelker couldn't have been more pleased.
"I think we'll wind up with 50 percent more attendees than last year," he observed. "Great food, great music, all for a good cause."
Chefs Phillips and Wellington from Bert's Bar and Grill flipped a record number of juicy burgers at the Taste of Matlacha.
The annual event, sponsored by the Matlacha Civic Association, benefits the Pine Island Food Pantry. Volunteers from the pantry were on hand to sell food tickets, serve food and keep the park tidy.
Food offered included hamburgers from Bert's Bar, pasta from Miceli's, seafood gumbo from Andy's Seafood, mullet spread/smoked mullet from the Old Fish House, chicken salad croissant from the Perfect Cup, conch chowder from Barnhill Seafood Spot and, for dessert, key lime pie from Sandy Hook Restaurant.
Pheo Phillips, a chef at Bert's Bar and Grill, pointed out that 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Food Pantry.
"We're glad to be able to participate each year for a good cause," he said.
Along with an array of food, live bluegrass music by Skeeterland entertained the crowd throughout the afternoon.
"The need for food for those in need is a year round need," Stoelker pointed out. "I'd encourage island residents to bring donations to the pantry which is located at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church, 12175 String-fellow Road in Bokeelia. We want to make sure all islanders have food for the holidays."