to take over downtown Nov. 15 & 16
You’ll have less than one week to rest up after the close of Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival before the next eats and drinks event kicks off. And while the Disney event lasts about six weeks, the Orlando Food & Wine Fest will try to cram a lot of stuff into one weekend.
The event is sponsored by, among others, WLOQ (103.1) Smooth Jazz Radio and Orlando Home & Leisure magazine as well as the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. There will be wine tastings, cooking seminars and chef demonstrations, and live music performances on an outdoor stage.
The fest will be set up along Robinson Street adjacent to Lake Eola Park. Let’s hope they block off the street or things could get ugly.
This is how it will work: There is an admission charge to get into the festival site — $10 in advance or $15 at the door, which is technically a gate. That money basically covers the cost of the musical acts. And no, you can’t avoid the charge if you promise to wear earmuffs and not listen to the music.
If you want to sample the food and wine — and keep in mind this is a food and wine festival — you’ll need to purchase beverage tickets. About $4 will get you a beer or a glass of wine.
You follow the same drill for the food stations. Tickets are $2 each and you’ll need two to four tickets per food item. Each restaurant will have three items available at their booths. Keep in mind that tickets can be purchased only at ticket stations. Don’t stand in line waiting to get a beer or something to eat and try to buy the tickets from the vendor. Won’t work.
You can also pay $12 for admission to the Wine Tasters Guild Wine Garden, which will get you up to six tastes of wine and cheese. (I’m not sure the cheese is limited; you might be able to get your money’s worth right there.)
Information is still coming in on who will be doing cooking demonstrations, but I hear that Norman Van Aken and Melissa Kelly will both be in attendance. They’re two of our celebrity chefs with restaurants in the area who actually visit their restaurants and participate in the community, unlike some others. (Has anyone seen Todd English lately? Wolfgang Puck? How about Arthur Treacher? Anyone?)
You can get loads of more information and find out how to purchase your tickets in advance at the Fest’s Web site. By the way, if you purchase a ticket to go on Saturday, it’s good for Sunday if you want to go back. Hours on Saturday are noon to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m..