Taste of Pinecrest joins YMCA to promote ‘gala for the ages’

Taste of Pinecrest joins YMCA to promote ‘gala for the ages’

Pictured (l-r) are Richard Adelman, Ivone Lopez, Jose Carrillo, Barbara Wong, Martha Garcia, Mitchell Panter,
Rachel Blackburn, Marvin Stein, Alvin Lodish, Andy Weighill, John Roeder, Paul Mitchell, Julie Goldman, Art
Heggen, Mark Soldevilla, Karen Krugliak, Carolyn Jarro, Amy Simons, Pam Mayers and Adam Hellman.

Residents and neighbors of Pinecrest should mark April 7 on their calendars because that’s the date of the 11th annual Taste of Pinecrest and it is shaping up to be the biggest and best one ever.

The Pinecrest Business Association and the South Dade YMCA Family Center, at 9355 SW 134th St., are pooling their resources with the Taste of Pinecrest board to create a gala for the ages.

“When we envisioned this event, what we wanted to do was make it bigger and bolder than it’s ever been,” says PBA board director and Taste of Pinecrest co-chair Mark Soldevilla. “We’re looking to make the event something like ‘A Taste of Chicago,’ where it reaches national levels of recognition.”

The seasonal event will be held this year in the South Dade YMCA’s new wellness center, which is still under construction. It is an enormous two-story building that spans multiple areas, including a full twocourt indoor basketball gym, two weight and cardio rooms, aerobics and spinning classes, a dance studio and a kid’s recreational area. In addition, it will directly access a brand new swimming pool and certain rooms in the facility will double as areas for social events. The modern architectural design has a very open, flowing aesthetic that ensures that no room in the building feels isolated from another.

“What we’re bringing to the community is the ability to serve three times as many people as we’re currently serving in our existing YMCA,” says Charlotte Donn, the associate vice president for marketing and communications for the YMCA. “We can have everything from somebody’s small birthday party here to these big 10,000- people events.”

The Taste of Pinecrest will take place both inside and outdoors. First and foremost a culinary event, there is no chance the party will disappoint this year. Several celebrity chefs are set to attend and will provide various cooking demonstrations covering everything from healthy cooking tips to novel food preparation techniques that promote productive kitchen lives. The victual delights do not end there, however.

“Being a food event, we wanted it to be food-centric, so we also wanted to have the community to come in – the restaurants from the local area – and make it exciting by doing some food smack downs to determine who actually has the best cheeseburger in the surrounding area and things like that,” says Soldevilla. “We’re inviting food trucks as well as restaurants so that we can bring all those culinary excitements together.”

Those who have satisfied their appetites can also attend the business expo set to take place inside, as well as take in the many musical guests that Taste of Pinecrest plans to have in attendance. Additionally, the board has reached out to a few local artists who will have on-site artwork installations. A collaborative piece is also in discussion that would have the artists and the children produce something that can be kept yearround on the premises.

The YMCA currently serves about 4,000 people, however the new wellness center will allow for a substantial membership increase. The cross-promotional possibilities are tremendous involving this event, and YMCA executive director Andrew Weighill is eager to seize the opportunity.

“We’ve been limited in space here,” he says. “By the end of 2012, when we open this facility in January, we’ll be able to provide healthy aspects of living to somewhere around 14,000 people.”

“The timing just worked out perfectly,” says Adam Hellman, President of the PBA. “We just feel like we have the opportunity to do something bigger and greater than we ever have before.”

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