The weather was outstanding, the music was great, the food the best and the island celebrated its 29th Annual Taste of Marco. Residents, visitors and guests crowded the Esplanade to revel in what has become a tradition since 1990, as the Greater Marco Island YMCA would throw an end to season bash and fundraiser to support their many programs.
“This event is one which has residents and visitors alike looking forward to it,” said Cindy Love, the Executive Director of the local YMCA, which has grown steadily under her leadership. Their programs and offerings have expanded out into the areas just off the island as the need has evolved over the last three decades.
With well over a dozen restaurants participating, attendees would be able to enjoy a variety of their favorite foods from some of the island’s best-known eateries. The YMCA volunteers would man the popular beer taps, along with the water and soda selections. CJ’s popular Star-Bar, located at the center of the Esplanade, provided thirsty patrons with a wide selection of mixed and tropical drinks to wet their thirsty palates.
The popular Ben Allen Band had attendees entertained throughout the afternoon. Local DJ and Master of Ceremonies, Steve Reynolds kept the festivities moving right along, as he would mix announcements, with calls for 50/50 raffles peppering the air between the music provided by the band.
Local resident Cathy Ahern showed her generosity as the winner of the first 50/50 drawing by giving $100 of her winnings back to the YMCA after her lucky number was pulled.
“This is what a small community is all about and they make us who we are,” said Tiffany Homuth, who has served for many years as a YMCA board member and past board president.
“There were no losers here today,” said Allyson Richards, another past president of the board, while she walked around thanking all those that participated in the event and those that volunteered.
Once the votes were tallied the following was announced:
- The “Judges Choice Award” went to Verdi’s as well as the “Best Bite” Award.
- People’s Choice Award went to Michelbob’s.
- ZaZa’s won “Best Overall.”
- The Island Country Club would win for “The Best Decorated Booth” and “Most Creative.”
It was anticipated that the event would raise approximately $25,000 for the local YMCA which would go to support programs and scholarships offered from their Sand Hill campus on the island.