We do it once a year. We all come together for great food, wine (some brewski), and world class artists.
This year was no different at the 9th Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest. There were over 30 of Central Florida’s greatest restaurants, over 50 delicious wines from around the world…and plenty of sunshine…and speaking of sunshine, on our stage Sunday the 26th, K. C. & The Sunshine Band. They did a tremendous job taking us back to the ole skool with all the hit songs we remember from the radio and the night clubs back in the day.
Casey (Harry Wayne Casey-“K.C.”) was friendly, warm, cool, and engaging with our staff, and made time for our backstage winners for our meet and greet. Even postponing an interview because his manager said, “see all those people over there?”, “they’re waiting to meet KC, so we have to take the time to talk to them before we can do an interview with you”, he continued.
I got a chance to taste some of the best food in Central Florida, and though I could only eat so much, I won’t tell you where I ate, because I didn’t get a chance to eat at every one of the restaurants. Suffice it to say that where I DID eat, was unbelievable.
It’s also amazing how many local celebrities show up to be a part of the event, or just get out with their family and enjoy the day and the event.
As I was walking out of the stage area prior to K.C. & The Sunshine Band hitting the stage. There was a young man sitting on a blanket with his parents. He had a football in his hands. I put my arms out and said, “hey, hit me – I’m open!!”. The threw me the ball, which I caught…and took back to him. Only to find that his dad…was WESH 2’s Meteorologist Tony Mainolfi. He then introduced me to his wife and quarterback son. I got to catch up with him and chat. He was so warm and friendly, and down to earth. Just a regular guy enjoying the day.It was a sincere pleasure to get to speak with him and talk both business and pleasure.
I was also honored to have shared the stage with one of the most grounded, coolest, and gracious political leaders I’ve known…the honorable Mayor Buddy Dyer. We went up onto the stage together Sunday afternoon to present the Downtown Food & Wine Fest Golden Fork Awards. Mayor Dyer and I have worked several charity events together and he’s always been supportive, friendly, and engaging. Thank you Mr. Mayor…I appreciate you sharing time from your busy schedule to be a part of our event, as well as taking the time to chat, then even stay for K.C. & The Sunshine Band as long as you did, knowing you had another event to attend later that evening.
We’re already talking about next year (believe it or not), and if you’ve gone in the past, we know you’ll be there. If you have never been…you need to do yourself and your “special someone,” family and friends a favor and make it a day, or two, to be there to enjoy the event. Lake Eola is the perfect backdrop for the event and the crowds just seem to get bigger and bigger every year. It’s easy to see why, with all there is to offer, for all the senses.
We certainly hope to see you there next year. Mark it on your calendar, so you can come out and shake shake shake….shake shake shake, shake your booty with us! Bon appetit.
Excuse me, while I loosen my belt.