Residents of Baldwin Park and beyond came together from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at Harbor Park on New Broad Street for the highly anticipated return of Taste of Baldwin Park.
Celebrating its second year, more than 1,000 guests were delighted at the return of the event after having to take a break in 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual foodie night out featured a plethora of all-inclusive and unlimited tasting of wines, craft beer and food stations from more than 25 vendors, with VIP ticket-holders arriving an hour before the event for early access.
Food vendors this year included local favorites such as Seasons 52, Outback Steakhouse, The Alfond Inn, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Jimmy Hula’s, Tibbys New Orleans Kitchen, Gators Dockside and Provisions & Buzz Co.
Dessert vendors include Nothing Bundt Cakes and Gelato-go Orlando.
Other featured vendors included co-presenting sponsors such as Publix and Park Life Group Keller Williams Winter Park, as well as smaller sponsors such as The Drip Bar and Red Fox Promo.
The event, hosted by VIP Events by David Merritt, benefits Caring By Sharing United, a non-profit organization in Altamonte Springs that provides humanitarian needs for the homeless, hungry, sick and less fortunate.
“It’s all about creating an amazing night out for individuals to enjoy the Baldwin Park community,” Merritt says. “This is a community event, and I feel very responsible to make sure it’s executed, to give everyone a great night out with delicious food and drink, great music and just a wonderful vibe where people feel safe. This is a special community, and they deserve an event just as special.”
Attendees also had the opportunity to enjoy live entertainment on a professional stage on the lake. The band Room 2, which has several members who live in the area, performed rock music.
In addition to the food, the event provided face-to-face marketing opportunities for local businesses.
Although an event of this magnitude is a lot of work, it also is rewarding, Merritt says.
“When you see everybody leaving, and they’ve had an amazing experience, then you know that you have completed your mission and you have done what you promised people you would do where you created an amazing night out,” Merritt says. “After the pandemic, I feel like there’s this pent-up demand emotionally where people wanted to get out and do things.”
Starting in 2023, Merritt wants to host two Taste of Baldwin Park events per year — one in the fall and one in the spring. The tentative dates for 2023 are Thursday, April 6, and Thursday, Nov. 2.