Inaugural Cocoa Beach Wine and Food Festival features a concert by Three Dog Night
Celebrate the diversity of global gastronomy at the inaugural Cocoa Beach Wine and Food Festival on March 13 at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. This year’s theme is “International Flavors.”
Event organizer Tony Hernandez, a local attorney in Cocoa Beach and self-proclaimed foodie, inspired by wine and food festivals like those in Miami, decided that Cocoa Beach would be a perfect place to organize the same type of event. And so he began the planning about four years ago for a superior wine and food festival, unlike any in the area.
Hernandez approached Pat Bautz, the drummer for Three Dog Night Dog Night and a Cocoa Beach resident, about the band performing at the event. The band agreed since the proceeds from the event would benefit the local group Project HUNGER. Then the process of carefully selecting chefs began, with the help of a committee of six other people, and took about seven months. Local favorites signed on like Stuart and Nancy Borton of the Yellow Dog Café and Chef Peter Lin from Chameleon Fusion Bistro. Hernandez’s goal in planning the event was to keep everything local, including the proceeds, with the exception of Three Dog Night.
“It was important for me to keep money in Brevard, to feed our neighbors and community,” Hernandez says.
During the event, visitors will “travel” around the globe at the tasting village where about 20 local chefs will represent an international flavor and provide gourmet tastings for each guest. Southern Wine and Spirits will pair a wine sampling with each tasting station. Guests will receive a “passport” with countries to visit and restaurant information which will be “stamped” at each station. The passport will also include a ballot for voting on their favorite restaurant. A commemorative glass will also be included. Tickets are $75 which includes food and wine tastings and the concert.
Other activities include two free “Wine 101” courses that will be presented to educate visitors about the basics of wine and sand artisans will be building a sculpture at the park for spectators.
The “trip” will conclude with a dazzling fireworks display after the concert.
Herenandez has high hopes for the inaugural event, including attendance of about 2,500 and he’s already in the planning stages for next year’s event with the same goal of keeping every aspect local except the entertainment.
About Project HUNGER:
Tony looks at the event as a kind of “gluttony for hunger.” Project HUNGER is a grassroots initiative to address the hunger crisis in Brevard that began last year by community members Dick Beagley, Jonnie Swann and Delores Spearman. They were joined by Bunny Finney, Kendall Moore and Darcia Jones Francey who together, decided to raise $100,000, and to leverage the impact by securing the food through Second Harvest Food Bank. Each dollar raised is leveraged to get $9 worth of $ food. Last year, Project HUNGER supplied more than $1.1 million in food to pantries throughout Brevard.
About Three Dog Night:
According to their official website nobody had more hits from 1969-1974 than Three Dog Night. With 21 consecutive Top 40 hits and selling nearly 50 million records their hits include “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” “Joy to the World,” and “Black and White.” The band includes founding members Cory Wells and Danny Hutton who sing lead vocals, as well as original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and guitarist Michael Allsup. Local resident Pat Bautz who plays drums joined in 1993 and Paul Kingery joined in 1996 to play bass and vocals.
Countries and Chefs:
USA: Nancy and Stuart Borton, Yellow Dog Café in Malabar
Columbia: Chef Francisco Lara, La Estancia de Luisa in Palm Bay
Cuba: Javier Gonzalez, Rubio’s Cuban Café in Cape Canaveral
Fusion: Chef Peter Lin, Chameleon Fusion Bistro in Palm Bay
Greece: Chef Zacharias Ligerakis and Chef Nick Poulos, Zachary’s in Cape Canaveral
India: Chef Anil Vadaparambil, Taste of India in Melbourne
Italy: Chef Brano Kunik, Brano’s in Cocoa Beach
Jamaica: Chef Trevor Dixon, Blue Toucan in Cape Canaveral
Lebanon: Chef Marlene Khouri, Cedar’s Café in Melbourne
Thailand: Chef Chai, Siam Orchid in Cocoa Beach and Melbourne
11 a.m. Doors Open
11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tasting Village Open
3 p.m. Mo Geetz performs, food, wine and beer vendors open
6 p.m. Three Dog Night followed by Fireworks Show
Lori Wilson Park 1500 North Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach
For more information- www.cocoabeachwinefoodfestival.com
To purchase tickets- www.ticketweb.com