River Cities Gazette

Choices abound at annual Taste of the Springs event

TASTING FEAST – There was barely an empty chair on Sunday, Feb. 9 when the Miami Springs Country Club served as the host venue for the annual Taste of the Springs event as a total of 18 vendors dazzled patrons with all sorts of different tasty delights.
TASTING FEAST – There was barely an empty chair on Sunday, Feb. 9 when the Miami Springs Country Club served as the host venue for the annual Taste of the Springs event as a total of 18 vendors dazzled patrons with all sorts of different tasty delights.
Gazette Photo/BILL DALEY

River Cities Gazette

The annual “Taste of the Springs” event took place last Sunday (Feb. 9) at the Miami Springs Golf and Country Club. Guests went wild trying to decide which cuisine to choose and it was a large number of guests as well as just about every table and chair was occupied at one point.

Carrying forks and plates, somewhere between 200 and 250 guests enjoyed great food, wonderful music and each other’s company.

After a one-year hiatus, the event returned to an old venue, the Miami Springs Country Club, as General Manager Carlos Santana donated the use of the country club and assisted with the event. 

“It’s always nice to have this event here and nice to hear the people say how nice it is to have it back here at the Miami Springs Country Club,” said Santana. “Whatever I can do to help, I’m always happy to pitch in for the community.”

The event showcased a total of 18 vendors, each showing off their best food and drawing many a taster, while others went back for more of their favorites.

There wasn’t an empty seat to be found in the center courtyard while tasters sampled from BurritoVille, Bryson’s Irish Pub, Miami Springs Golf & Country Club, Pat’s A Little Taste of Philly, among many, along with a few newcomers, Treats Cafe and Anacapri Restaurant. An added twist this year was that a few Farmer’s Market merchants, most notably Wildtree, Vaisa Wines and Ya Ya Wines, got involved. 

“This has turned into such a wonderful event,” said Chamber representative Donna Wood-Beney. “An opportunity for the residents of the Springs to perhaps sample something from a restaurant that they have not attended, to find something different from what they have at a restaurant they usually do go to, plus we have several people from the Farmer’s Market to also tie the market in with Miami Springs and the commerce thereof. Ya Ya Wines, Wildtree and Vaisa. Really happy to have them, including new Chamber member and Anacapri.”

“I think it’s a great thing to pull people together in a community like Miami Springs,” said Burritoville owner Jeff Dunevitz. “I’ve always felt like Miami Springs is kind of a close-knit smaller community, not by size but by the people in it and it’s one of those things where people all remember what places are where and what not.”

The musical entertainment was provided by the musical team of Rick Fernandez and Carlos Ferrer from 4 to 7 before Miami Springs Chamber president Jim Borgmann took over with his karaoke show at 7 p.m. to get the “after-party” under way. A 50/50 raffle was held and there were a variety of raffle items. Local belly dancer Shahar, who has wowed the crowd many times at the River Cities Festival in the past, kicked off the after-party with a 15-minute routine that had the crowd clearly impressed.

“We just wanted to do it because I really thought it would be a great opportunity for Treats Cafe to be more involved with the community and doing something that would give us more exposure,” said Treats boss Damian Grass. “Miami Springs attracted me from the very beginning as the classic small town where everybody is united and I really love that kind of thing.”

The Farmer’s Market group was lined up right in a row towards the end of the food line.

“We’re new in the area and people are making a concerted effort to eat healthier and so often they’re running to the drive-thru for quick and easy meals and I can offer that to them by staying at home around the kitchen table with the family,” said Wildtree’s Janette Schultz. 

For anyone who has a good memory, you might remember Ya Ya Wines proprietor Yatha LeGrand. It was her and sister Tosie who led the Miami Springs High School girls soccer team to the 1988 state championship.

“I decided to get involved for personal reasons,” said LeGrand. “I was raised in Miami Springs, went  to Springview Elementary and Miami Springs High, was part of the 1988 girls soccer state championship team and anytime Springs puts on an event, I always want to be a part of it. Now we have a few local stores that currently sell my brand — Universal Liquors, Bryson’s is another and I just picked up the Airport Liquor Lounge — so anytime Miami Springs calls, I’m always available to give back.”

Unlike past years where this event has served as a startup fundraiser for the upcoming Springs River Festival, that’s no longer the case as the Springs River Festival organization is actually no longer involved with the festival but at the same time, it has remained incorporated. 

“We are still a 501C3 non-profit, and wish to continue serving the community, so we’re doing smaller events,” said committee treasurer Nikki Howard. “We kept the Taste of the Springs event and this year monies will go the Miami Springs Historical Society and CATS (Caring About the Strays). The Chamber of Commerce, which has joined in and partnered with us in this event, will donate their share to their charity of their choice. We will continue to do events that will benefit the community.”

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