Taste of the Ranch premiered on April 14th at Lakewood Main Street. The street was lined with food, drink and sponsor vendors greeting attendees with delectable options at each booth. Attendees were able to try out local flavorful favorites, like MacAllisters, Paris Bistro, Station 400, Cleveland Kitchen, Seasons 52 and more. There was a wide variety of beer and wine options to pair with the food. Guests could enjoy anything from a local craft beer favorites, like Darwin Brewing Company and Naughty Monk, to a fine white wine to cool off with.
The young ones stayed entertained with balloon artists, face painting and music. Local singer-songwriter, Sam Hunt, who appeared as a finalist on American Idol, also took to the stage for a special live performance.
VIP ticket holders had the opportunity to enjoy exclusive benefits at the event. Along with early access to the event, they were welcomed into the Tuscany Room at the USFSM Culinary Lab for a unique experience. Food demos and wine pairings were presented by Sir Adam Carmer, Master Wine Taster. The special food menu featured Deer Island Atlantic Diver Scallops, Carne Cruda, and Braised Duck Bruschetta. An additional perk included having full wine and beer pours to savor the tasty options.
Throughout the street, you could find students of USFSM eager to help and give a lending hand. They helped organize the event with Director of LWR Community Activities, Keith Pandeloglou, as a part of their Event Management class. The event was presented by Lakewood Ranch Community Activities, in conjunction with The College of Hospitality and Tourism Leadership at USF Sarasota Manatee, which benefited from Taste of the Ranch proceeds. This event was also in conjunction with Jennifer Matteo Event Planning and The Main Street at Lakewood Ranch Merchant's Association.