Blues music will be on tap at Estero Island's largest food festival this year.
The Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce's 19th annual Taste of the Beach on Old San Carlos Boulevard will feature a Baywalk Blues Festival this Sunday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Sean Chambers Band, a contemporary blues group, will headline the all-day entertainment, which will include musical acts Wendell Ray and The RH Faktor.
A complete field of 16 restaurants have signed on to display their signature fare and compete for six best dish awards in three categories -appetizer; entre; and dessert. The entree category will involve meat (beef/pork/chicken), fish, shellfish and non-meat. Best Spirited Decorated Booth and People's Choice Award will also be awarded.
The festival will involve a "fenced-in" event within the downtown "entertainment" district that will allow open containers of alcohol and amplified staged music.
This is the second consecutive year that the island's main food festival will be located in the BayWalk area of Estero Island's downtown district. Music is being scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. The awards ceremony will be held at 4 p.m.
The event will act as a fundraiser for the Greater Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts. The Beach Chamber will share beer sales revenue with the 501C(3) group, which may also offer 50/50 raffles to support their mission to facilitate and fund arts presentations in the greater Fort Myers Beach area.
TO GO BOX
What: Taste of the Beach food festival
When: Sunday, May 4, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Old San Carlos Boulevard
The participating restaurants for 2014 TOB include Matanzas on the Bay, Beach Pierside Grill, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Royal Scoop, Castaways Bar & Grill, Skip One Seafood, Yucatan Beach Stand, DiamondHead Beach Resort's Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill, Pinchers Crab Shack, Nemo's on the Beach, Pink Shell Beach Resort's Bongo's Bar and Grill, Lani Kai's Island View Restaurant, Nervous Nellies Crazy Waterfront Eatery, Beach Bums, Jolly Roger on the Beach and Big Game Waterfront Grill.
Food judges will be Chef/Town Councilman Dan Andre of Mango Street Inn, Beach Elementary School Principal Larry Wood, Gator Country's Val St. John and Scott Fish and Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott.
At 2 p.m., the fan-favorite server competition will be held in the parking lot at the corner of Old San Carlos Boulevard and Third Street. The three-man teams will fight for bragging rights and cash. First-place winners receive $75 apiece, while second place gets $50 per server and third takes home $25 per person.
Sponsors for Taste of the Beach 2014 include Budweiser, Gavins Ave Hardware, Krusty Pete's On-The-Beach, Liberty Coast Construction, Advance Disposal, Jerry's Tire, Paradise Tropical Wines, Paradise Beach Taxi/Local Motion Taxi, Nervous Nellies Crazy Waterfront Eatery, Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, Smokin Oyster Brewery and Caribbean Pearl as well as corporate sponsors News-Press and Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina.
Admission for the gated event is $5 per adult and children over age 12. Children under 12 are admitted free. Food tickets are $1 apiece.
Steve D'Angelis will once again serve as event chairman.
"To all of our local restaurants and food-lovers, alike, we invite you to come to Old San Carlos Boulevard Sunday, May 4, for great food and great music," he said. "We're additionally excited this year because we're bringing in some live entertainment, incorporating a blues-festival-type atmosphere, including headliner Sean Chambers Band.
"The best part about it is the annual Taste of the Beach signifies the end of the season for local restaurants, so it's a great opportunity for the local restaurants to come hang out again, see their fellow restauranteurs, and compete once again for the Best Server competition. It promises to be another great Taste of the Beach."
For more information, go to www.tasteoffortmyersbeach.com (as updated information will appear on website as the event nears) or call the Beach Chamber office at 454-7500.