LAKEWOOD RANCH -- With more than 40 participating restaurants and nearly 300 international and domestic wines, this year's Suncoast Food and Wine Festival looks filling.
The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch is gearing up to host the annual event from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the Sarasota Polo Club, 8201 Polo Club Lane. The Rotary Club's 70 members work the entire event, which is in its 12th year.
"We've reached the million dollar mark," said publicity chair Laurie Hagberg, noting that all the money made goes toward charity. "We average about $100,000 per year in net proceeds."
For $60 per person, attendees can enjoy all the food and wine they please. The event, which draws upwards of 2,000 people each year, also features beer sam
ples, a silent auction, chef demonstrations and free parking.
Linger Lodge Restaurant in Bradenton, famous for its alligator and frog legs, is participating in the feast for the first time. They'll be doling out meat-and-seafood gumbo (sans alligator and frog legs).
"To be honest, (alligator) is too hard to keep. It gets chewy and rubbery so we couldn't do gator on site," said general manager David LaRusso.
MacAllisters Grill and Tavern in Lakewood Ranch, which has participated in the festival for eight years, is whipping up sticky toffee pudding.
"It's a local community event so that's why we love being a part of it," said Karen Ronney, co-owner of MacAllisters.
Tickets are $60 and must be purchased online before the event. To purchase, or for more information, visit suncoastfoodandwinefest.com.