Taste of Winter Park offers buffet of local bites
Music roams through the air as you sit among more than 45 restaurants, sampling food and drinks from each.
This place for entertainment, dining and mingling is Taste of Winter Park.
"I just think that it's a magical evening where you have the saxophone music and vocals just floating around in the air," said Rob Sharpstein, event committee chairman for Taste of Winter Park. "You have everybody out in beautiful weather, hopefully, and mingling, eating and drinking wine."
The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce's 30th annual event will be held on Wednesday, April 15 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Winter Park Farmers' Market, designed for attendees over the age of 21.
Taste of Winter Park is a showcase of local restaurant and beverage vendors that provides a sample of their menus for guests to enjoy and get a 'taste' of what to expect at their establishments, said Erika Spence, senior director of marketing and communications for the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.
Unlike other events, Spence said only one admission charge — of $40 to $45 — is required, which allows attendees to sample from as many participants as they choose — not having to purchase individual food and drink tickets.
This year, the event will feature more than 45 restaurants, 11 of which are from the Park Avenue area of downtown Winter Park.
Spence said Taste of Winter Park consists of approximately 1500 attendees, and has flourished in success because restaurant participants come back year after year.
"There is certainly something for everyone, from classic American dishes to a variety of ethnic cuisines," she said.
There willl be 45 different restaurants and food vendors in attendance from 4 Rivers Smokehouse to ABC Fine Wine & Spirits to Mellow Mushroom and Jeremiah's Italian Ice, according to a press release.
Preparation for Taste of Winter Park takes about eight months, starting in the fall each year. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce has a dedicated volunteer committee that works to make for a successful event.
Sharpstein said the event gets better each year. Before he got involved with the event in 1988, Sharpstein worked in the restaurant business and was one of the restaurant participants at Taste of Winter Park.
For the first time, Spence said the event will have a silent auction component, which will include a variety of packages from the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce members, including sports, theater, dining and artwork.
There will also be a drawing for a chance to win a two-person European cruise valued at $10,000, according to the release.
"Over the last 30 years, the event has grown both in number of participants and guest attendance," Spence said. "It is one of the best known tasting events in Central Florida, and now has the reputation as the 'ultimate foodie festival.'"
Winter Park Chamber of Commerce members: $40
Winter Park Chamber of Commerce non-members: $45
Everyone at the door: $45
Rachel Stuart is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @RachSage or email her at RachelS@CentralFloridaFuture.com.