FOUR CORNERS – In past years, the Taste of Four Corners celebration has had plenty to offer: restaurants with samples of their best meals, business booths, and fun activities for kids.
What they also had, unfortunately, has been some messy weather problems. Traditionally, this event held at Formosa Gardens Village on U.S. 192 was scheduled on a Wednesday night in the spring. But heavy rains caused it to get postponed by a month one year, and summer heat and humidity were a challenge as well.
This year, the Taste of Four Corners celebration – an annual event sponsored by the Four Corners Area Council – will be on Friday, Sept. 23, which also happens to be the first day of autumn — at least according to the calendars, if not necessarily to the weather, which will probably still feel like summer.
Still, the council members who organize this annual event are hoping that it feels milder than in May or June, when the festival has been held in past years, and that residents of this fast-growing area turn out in force to enjoy it.
But they’re still looking for more businesses to set up booths at the event, which is held in the parking lot of the large shopping plaza.
Mary Ellen Kerber is the manager of Formosa Gardens, and the former chairman of the Four Corners Area Council, which is made up of business owners in the Four Corners area. When the council held its monthly meeting on Thursday at the Maingate Lakeside Resort across the street from Formosa Gardens, Kerber said there was good news and not-so-good news to report.
“As of yesterday, we have $11,000 worth of sponsorships, which is great,” Kerber said.
“Now for the bad news,” she added. “Unfortunately, we only have 13 business booths.”
That’s not counting the booths that go to local restaurants. Taste of Four Corners was intended to be a showcase for restaurants in the area that want to set up a booth and bring samples of their most popular meals for the public to enjoy.
The restaurants don’t pay for their booth space, but other companies do, at a price of $150 for a regular business and $75 for a non-profit.
“We’re trying to get to 22 (business booths), which is what we’ve had in the past,” Kerber said. “The restaurant booths are free. We make our money off the business booths.”
The council is also making an effort to find some entertainers to perform at the event.
“Entertainment is a major issue this year,” Kerber said. “There is no entertainment booked for the event, and I was quite appalled at that. But we have a little difference of opinion on what kind of entertainment to have.”
It’s been suggested, she said, that they ask a local high school band to perform, but Kerber said she doubts they could rehearse and be ready in time for Sept. 23, and added, “I don’t think that should be our headline (entertainment).”
Some members of the council are also reaching out to Old Town, which is also on U.S. 192, to see if that theme park has entertainers who could perform. Kerber said Old Town has provided performers to Taste of Four Corners in the past, including an Elvis impersonator.
Other members of the council agreed it was important to book some entertainment and then get the word out, and fast.
“I would be embarrassed if we didn’t have someone perform,” said council member Sonny Buoncervello.
Marc Reicher, the council’s first chairman, noted that Taste of Four Corners has always provided some live entertainment, going back to the first one seven years ago, when it started out as a Gator Cook Off festival.
“We had a country band at that one,” Reicher said.
Kerber said it would easy to accommodate anyone who gets booked at the last minute.
“We don’t have a stage, but if they bring their own equipment, we can set something up,” she said. “We can have several things going on at once. The more the merrier.”
Kerber said it was worth it to make final push to bring in more businesses and entertainers, even with just two weeks left before the event is held.
“By no means is this going to be a bad event,” she said. “We just think we can make it better.”
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