WELCOME to our exclusive unofficial guide to the Taste of Florence. While these are purely unofficial tips, we believe that as fellow foodies we are in a unique position to offer some great suggestions to help you optimize your attendance. If you have others tips, or feedback on these tips, please add your suggestions in the comments section of this article. Don’t forget to Bookmark this page or add it to your Home Screen for easy reference during the event.
As you know from our lead-up coverage, this year the event will be bigger and better, bringing more vendors to you in a larger space. The first event was held last October and was an unprecedented success, we expect nothing less in 2012. Lets get started!
1. KNOW THE BASICS
The event is Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at the Florence Civic Center, starting at 5:00 PM. Other event details are available here including links to 2011 photos and our related event reports. If you prefer to listen to our preview podcast, here’s the audio link.
Oh, and don’t worry about space. Last year over 3,500 people crowded the Florence Civic Center’s Ballroom over the course of that evening. This time the Arena has been reserved to more readily accommodate everyone who wants to be involved and attend.
Admission tickets will be $5.00 in advance, $6.00 at the door, and children 12 and under enter for free. Separate tickets are available for food purchases. Admission tickets are available at (1) Stripe-It Designs Signs and Graphics on West Palmetto Street in Florence, (2) Servpro of Florence and Darlington Counties on Pisgah Road, and (3) at the OM Ships office on St. Andrews Road.
2. BRING YOUR FAMILY
Taste of Florence is a family-friendly event. Children are welcome and family enjoyment of the event is encouraged. You’ll be pleased to know that there are more tables for sitting and enjoying the food this year. That will be of special interest to parents of little ones, as will the Kid Zone which is also new. Remember to take advantage of the availability of free admission tickets for young children.
3. BRING YOUR APPETITE
Based upon the success of 2011, the Florence Civic Center’s arena floor will be loaded with exciting opportunities to sample the best of Florence and our Pee Dee region. Over 40 food vendors will be present – plus a Farmers Market. Local chefs and specialty food producers can’t wait to share their creations with you. Come hungry.
4. VISIT BOOTH #55
Of course we’ll be there, so look for PeeDeeFoodie.com, including some of our online contributors, at booth #55. Our booth is located just inside the arena to the right. Simply look for our logo.
Apart from stopping by to say “Hello”, you’ll want to visit us for special foodie-friendly giveaways. They will include gift certificates from some of our fellow exhibitors such as Klein Style Photography, Top Hat Special-Teas, Rebel Pie – Defy Ordinary Pizza, and SweetLeigh’s Cakes & Treats. So visit booth #55 to sign-up for your opportunity to win. You’ll only have to sign-up once to be eligible for all drawings.
5. PRIORITIZE YOUR FAVORITES
Exhibitors are being asked to prepare hundreds of samples of their featured dishes. While that may sound like a lot, remember that thousands of attendees are expected. That means there is a chance that you won’t get to sample something from one or more of your favorite exhibitors. That said, we have a solution!
Take a moment, now, to plan your overall booth strategy by making a list of those to visit early in the evening. Below is a full list of vendors for you to review. Prioritize your favorites and plan to visit those vendors right after you visit PeeDeeFoodie.com in booth #55.
1720 Burger Bar
Apple Annie’s Deli & Pub
Bizzell’s Food & Spirits
Clay Pot Coffee Shop
Da Massimo Ristorante Italiano
Florence Civic Center
Let Them Eat Cake!
Lone Palmetto Farms
Maryland Fried Chicken
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers
Midnight Rooster Courtyard & Eatery
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Percy & Willie’s Food and Spirits
Red Bone Alley
SC Real Foods
Shane’s Rib Shack
Stefano’s Italian Restaurant
SWEET A Cupcake Company
Sweetleighs Cakes & Treats
Wholly Smokin BBQ & Ribs
4. REFER TO THE MAP
If you’re like me, you can’t remember all of those names and need some visual help to determine the best plan. If that’s the case you can view and print the detailed Booth Map, including the above exhibitors’ chosen locations.
5. SAVE SOME MONEY
If you’re visiting the event with family or friends, consider ways to save some money. For example, you can divide the responsibility for purchasing food samples in order to share the costs associated with those tastings. By sharing nibbles of each others’ samples, you can stretch your dollars and try more items than you would otherwise.
By doing this, you may also be able to cover more of the arena floor more efficiently. Just pick an area to meet-up after purchases are made. Read this recent post about the “Sip & Nibble” we joined at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival recently.
6. THANK THEM ALL
Last but not least, we believe that the organizers, the vendors, and the sponsors should be commended for their commitments to this nonprofit fundraiser and for the awareness they are bringing about our unique Pee Dee food culture. Please thank them by visiting their booths and by patronizing their businesses when you can:
Kid Zone Sponsor
Local Farmers’ Corner Sponsor
ArborOne Farm Credit
OM Ships International
About the AuthorKevin Barron is a husband, father, self-described geek, and enthusiastic founder of PeeDeeFoodie.com. He also hosts its companion podcast, the Pee Dee Food Show, which can be found on iTunes and the blog. Learn more about Kevin under the Contributors tab above.
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