Foodies, get ready! The 13th annual Wilton Manors Taste of the Island kicks off on Nov. 5 with offerings from more than 35 local restaurants, breweries and eateries from South Florida’s Tri-County region. Festival-goers can sample everything from homemade fudge and spicy Indian curry to Peruvian ceviche and Greek gyros in the charming Richardson Historic Park and Nature Preserve.
Proceeds will benefit the Wilton Manors Historical Society, the Wilton Manors Development Alliance, the Kiwanis Club of Wilton Manors and the city’s Leisure Services Department. Cost is $35 per ticket.
Last year, the event raised about $12,000 for the charities and organizers are hoping to exceed that amount this year.
The event has grown to 35+ vendors and will include numerous opportunities to sample beers and enjoy mixed drinks. Wilton Manors Taste of the Island attracted about 500 people in 2017 and has become a destination for many food lovers.
Organizers are hoping that more regional advertising — made possible by sponsorships from Greico Ford of Fort Lauderdale and Grieco Chevrolet of Fort Lauderdale — will give the event an even broader reach, said Jeffrey Sterling, president of Wilton Manors Taste of the Island.
“Because of their support, the Taste of the Island is able to increase the level of their advertising to include iHeart Radio. We are hoping this will promote the event to a larger audience and also attract new restaurants that have not previously even involved so next year will be even bigger,” Sterling said.
Board member Mary Ulm predicts cooler weather, a historic location and a wide variety of food vendors will boost turnout this year. Ulm is also president of the Wilton Manors Historical Society.
“We certainly have an excellent lineup of restaurants and libations to offer,” Ulm said, said, noting that restaurants will be serving food from eight different countries, the largest number since the event was started.
The historic Richardson Park is a draw in itself, she added.
“I think what I love about it most is seeing the park lit up at night, with lights strung throughout the park. We really use the outdoor space to good effect. We have a deejay there and it’s just good to see people having a good time enjoying the music and enjoying the park under the trees.”
Enjoy the food and drinks and soak up the beauty of Richardson Park, but also come to support the local charities, she said.
“We depend on this event for a good boost for what we are able to do. It is hard for small charities to raise a lot of money,” Ulm said. Funds for the Leisure Services Department go towards children’s programs, Ulm added.
“I have been involved for about five years now and I really enjoy it,” Sterling said. “We hope over next several years we will actually be able to double the number of restaurants.”
Tickets are available at City Hall, 2020 Wilton Drive; the Richard C. Sullivan Public Library, 500 NE 26 St.; Sterling Accounting, 2435 N. Dixie Highway; and online, at http://bit.ly/TasteoftheIsland18.
If You Go:
What: Taste of the Island
When: Nov. 5, 6 p.m.
Where: Richardson Historic Park and Nature Preserve,
1937 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305