BRADENTON -- Feel like having a bowl of lobster corn chowder?
Or a bowl of beef barley with wild mushrooms?
Or maybe a bowl of Thai coconut chicken soup?
Then you're in luck and you can help a good cause, too.
The "Empty Bowls" luncheons to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee is being held at 11 a.m. Friday at Renaissance on 9th, and 11 a.m. Saturday at Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.
More than two dozen area restaurants will serve a variety of homemade soups with fresh bread from Publix and Grandma's Goodies cookies for dessert. Everyone who attends will also receive their choice of hand-crafted ceramic bowl created by talented potters in the community.
Last year the event raised $23,000.
Tickets are $25 each; $10 for children 12 and under.
"It's always a popular event," said Cindy Sloan, Food Bank director. "We are excited to expand the festivities to a Saturday this year as well as Friday."
The event traditionally had been a Thursday-Friday affair, but was changed to make it more accessible to the general public.
"We wanted to make Saturday available and incorporate it with more family friendly activites -- a bounce house, face-painting, a magician
and more," said Jill McGarry, Meals on Wheels PLUS marketing manager. "This is one of our two biggest fundraisers -- Tropical Nights in the spring is the other -- so we're anticipating a big turnout this year."
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix