Town’s ‘Taste of the Bay’ shines despite some rain

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Pictured (l-r) are Bev Gerald, JoAnn Parns of the Palmetto Bay Village Center, and Councilmember Peggy Bell.

Despite an ominous start with a passing cold front’s showers, Cutler Bay’s first annual “Taste of the Bay” on Sunday, May 15, turned out to be a great event attracting an estimated 3,000-4,000 attendees during the course of the day which ran from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

One vendor even ran out of food. Darryl Boyette, current vice president of the Cutler Bay Business Association, which organized the event, was enthusiastic about how well the group’s first effort turned out.

“It’s been wonderful,” Boyette said. “The spirit’s been great. Everybody is excited. We had the perfect first hour. Then we had a little rain, but everybody hung around. We moved some of the vendors under the shelter.

“It turned out great. We got an A-Plus rating from the health inspector. All the vendors were perfectly in compliance with everything that was required. The inspectors said they’d never seen a first event ever have that good of a rating. That says a lot. We had a lot of good volunteers, that’s for sure.”

Besides having dozens of area restaurants and other vendors set up in rows of festival tents within the courtyard spaces of the Palmetto Bay Village Center on Old Cutler Road at SW 184th Street, “Taste of the Bay” also featured a classic car show, live music by the Mosquito Heads and the Road Kings bands, a petting zoo and bounce house, the Cutler Bay Farmer’s Market, a raffle with numerous prizes, and lots of tables and chairs for eating and conversations.

It took months to plan and organize. Debbie Herling and Cristy Catzevila- Orantes of Applebee’s said they enjoyed participating. Catzevila-Orantes called it a successful event of which they wanted to be part. Herling agreed.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to support the city, showcase what we have and be here as part of the community,” Herling said.

Cutler Bay Town Councilmember Peggy Bell not only attended, she pitched in as a volunteer.

“I think it’s been a fabulous event,” Bell said. “I think it was very well organized. I think the Town of Cutler Bay has really needed something like this to add to entertainment value and to support our businesses. I’ve really enjoyed it.

“The only downside has been a little bit of rain, but I don’t think that stopped people from coming. The rain stopped and it turned out wonderful. I hope this is just the first of many of these wonderful events.”

Besides Bell, Vice Mayor Ernie Sochin and council members Mary Ann Mixon and Sue Ellen Loyzelle attended. Mayor Ed MacDougall was out of town over the weekend and unable to attend. Palmetto Bay council members Patrick Fiore and Joan Lindsay attended as well. District 8 County Commissioner Lynda Bell attended and also presented the awards in the classic car competition.

CBBA president Cyndi Rogg, secretary Jean Tong-Noon and other board members could be seen constantly moving about to check on things and ensure the event kept on track, assisted by a group of dedicated volunteers.

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