Despite the Cold, Threatening Weather, Taste 2011 Successful

The gates opened to the visitors at 11:00, “All were at their posts and hoping for a busy and successful day."
All of the Kiwanis workers and community volunteers were ready. With the economy being what it is, and the weather being very cloudy and much cooler than usual there was no telling if it could be successful, but we were all hoping for a good day.

The Sign says - Stand next to grill $1.99      Taste 2011 Chairman, Pat Burman said “the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island pride themselves on holding an event for the entire family”.  The entire second field was setup for the kids, with activities like bounce houses and the always popular rock-climbing for kids of all ages where $5 got you an all day pass in the bounce house.

Saturday, January 22nd the park started filling up at 6:00 AM. Around 8:00 AM the smells started filling the air, pulled pork, pizza, seasoned jumbo shrimp, fish, clams, BBQ ribs & chicken, French fries and so much more. Chowder line 2011 Vytas Vibe started their set first. Music playing, food cooking, and vendors ready to show their wears, the people started coming and in spite of the cold it didn’t let up until 4:30 PM that night.” There were over 99 vendors of all kinds, more than 2010. There were reports that traffic was backed up to Matlacha.

Chowder line 2011 After Vytas Vibe performed to the early crowds, the sound crew set up for Soap Box, this was the first year Soap Box performed at Taste of Pine Island and they were a crowd pleaser. The visitors sat under the large tent in the center of the field, ate some of Pine Island’s best food and enjoyed some kick butt rock and roll. While Soap Box was performing the chowder contestants started cooking their seafood chowder. As in years past all who attend Taste of Pine Island and stayed until 2:30 PM could become judges in the contest. This is the people’s choice; there are no outside judges. It is all about what the people like. As usual the lines started early with nearly everyone staying all day. As in year’s past, long twisting lines of visitors were lined up in front Pine Island Dancersof the chowder tent waiting to taste all the entries. It is tough work being a contestant in the chowder contest and this year there were five contestants. Perfect Cup in Matlacha, Waterfront Restaurant in St. James City, Sandy Hook in Matlacha, Newcomers Toucan Restaurant and Miceli’s Restaurant both in Matlacha. This years first place winner was Perfect Cup for the fourth consecutive year. After enjoying the free samples of chowder, the crowds expressed their pleasure with the outcome of the contest.

The sound crew was getting the stage ready for Strange Arrangement, a very popular band in the area and at Taste of Pine Island. While the Band was performing the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island still had a full schedule of activities. New to this years lineup was the famous Calendar Girls, Hot Flashz and Pine Island dance teams. Pine Island Dancers As the crowd circled around the back stage area the dancers began in full costume. After the dance teams finished Love Notes youth strings ensemble played some nice quiet eating music. 

The famous FISH DROP took place at 4:00PM. The announcement was made and all the people in the park lined the fence in the back of the park to watch the drop. The crane hoisted the bucket holding the little fishies high in the air. Under the crane on the pitchers mound was a target where the fish were dropped. The fish closest to the target wins the grand prize of $1000, second $500 and third $250. Fish are falling, the crowd is yelling and yes, there’s a winner. Pine Island Resident, Kay Wickham is the winner of the grand prize, second place winner was Clark Howell a Pine Island resident and third place winner was, Terry Brown, congratulation to all 2011 Fish Drop 2nd Place Winner Clark Howell (Right) with Kiwanian Tanya Playerwho won. Strange Arrangement finished their set and the crowds started leaving.

The Taste of Pine Island was still a huge success for the vendors’.  The crowd was down slightly due to the cool and threatening weather. For some vendors sales were down a little but nearly all still did well, many of who have already secured their spot for 2012. It was also successful for the winners of the chowder contest, the winners of the FISH DROP and the Kiwanis Club Scholarship fund. Their goals for this year were down slightly but still good. And we hope all who attended the Taste of Pine Island 2011 had a great time, enjoyed the entertainment, and ate some great food and a lot of fun.

Vendors reactions:
     Paradise Gardens
“ Terrific job. Damn the weather. We did fine, maybe a little down from last year, but not much. “… it was well promoted and well attended.”
     Kim Hall
“Best event we have ever attended. Music was great. Great festival. It was too cold but that is something you cannot control. As a vendor we did good. You and your committee did a great job see you next year.”
     Brigette Chandler
“Yes the weather was bad, but it’s January and anything goes. As a vendor I did well and looking forward to next year. Reserve  row 4 first spot please. . great job with organizing…”
     Katherine Shortlidge, Program Coordinator of Calendar Girls
“WOW! What a great time we had at 2011 taste of Pine Island. The Calendar Girls arrived early and perused every aspect of the venue – meeting lots of fine people and sampling a true “Taste” of Pine Island.  Thank you and the Kiwanians for providing a safe, fun filled event for the community. If smiles and laughter indicate success – your event registered 100% satisfaction. We look forward to being part of 2012 Taste of Pine Island.”
The Chairman and her committee would like to thank all that attended the event; all of the volunteers who helped organize, worked hard and run the event in an orderly and fun manner. All the vendors who have supported the Kiwanis year after year, we hope you all come back next year.
Special thanks to the sponsors who helped makes this event possible. SunTrust Bank, LCEC, TIB Bank, Budweiser, Greater Pine Island Water Co., Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, SW Capital Bank, Pine Island Realty, Nautical Mile, Honc Industries, Adams & Brinson, Attorney at Law, CoveFarms, Budweiser King of Beers, Raymond James Financial, Fox News 92.5, Lite 93.7, 94.5 Classic Rock  and Ad&PrintCraft Marketing Co.
Pat has again volunteered to chair next year’s event. She hopes that even considering the cool weather & economic downturn that it will be bigger and more fun than this year and is planning to make it happen. Check out the website for 2012 date to be announced. If you want to be a sponsor, vendor, entertainer, volunteer or visitor to next year’s event contact Pat at 239-283-0777 and she will get you all the required paperwork to the BEST EVENT on Pine Island.
The goal of the Taste event is to bring people out to see our beautiful island and support our island businesses and support our youth Kiwanis scholarships program. The proceeds from our events also go to help the community and other non-profit organizations.  We do not have any paid administration; we are all volunteers and enjoy working with the community and the kids. If you want to help with the organization of this wonderful Island event next years contact any local Kiwanian or call 239-283-0777 or email to   Check out the website at or
Special Thank you to all of my fellow Kiwanians and their better halves who worked to make Taste of Pine Island a HUGE Success.
Don Beatty, Bill & Carol Cahak , John Cammick, Penny and Ken Honc, Robin Carton , Kathy Ball, Brian Faulkner, Roger & Linda Beathard, Kathy Woolston, Susan Klasing, Peggy Cozadd, Dale Dahlberg, Gary & Elise Edwards, Brian Faulkner, Carlyn & Ralph Herring, Belinda Marud, Nick & Jane Mohar, Andre Mule, Pete & Gloria Nelson, Lisa Benton,  Robin & Randy Parmerlee, Buzzy Phillips, Scarlett Player, Tonya Player, Mike Shevlin, Bill and Jody Thacher, Dale & Mimi Yost and  Shawn Iler, and others who help in there own way.
In addition, the Pine Island Community Church Youth Group, Pine Island Boy Scouts and Franky Valcarcel for manning the hard job of trash removal; The Staff at SunTrust Bank, for a great job of beer sales; the staff at SW Capital Bank for manning the front gate; and staff at TIB Bank for ticket sales.  Mike, Aaron, Nathaniel Burman, and Chris Stack for manning the stage and sound system, and a huge thank you to my daughter Rachel, whom without your help it would take me at least a full week to do what you and I get done in a few days, thank you for helping me for three day prior to the event and also the full day of the event, you’re the best.  And again to the vendors and sponsors, who make this event as successful as it can be, so the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island can present funds in scholarship to deserving Pine Island youth residents.
Don’t wait; get started now on your paperwork so you will be guaranteed a spot in 2012. We always have to turn away quite a few last minute requests.
See you all next year at Taste of Pine Island 2012
Pat Burman, Chairman of Taste of Pine Island 2011 and Proud Member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island.