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Rain no damper on Taste of North Fort Myers

April 26, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce president Lenny Cannova saw the early morning downpours Sunday and sighed.

Granted the rain was needed, but he also knew that it could mean the Taste of North Fort Myers would be a washout.

But the rain stopped, the sun broke through and vendors served up their specialities at the Shell Factory as planned.

Article Photos

Marbia and Rupert Powell of Caribbean Flair International Grill takes care of a customer at the Taste of North Fort Myers at the Shell Factory on Sunday.


"When we came to set up it was raining pretty good. By the grace of God, it stopped raining about the time we opened the doors," Cannova said. "People are coming in, eating, drinking listening to live music and having a good time."

Those who had come in the past noticed that the portion sizes had increased, giving attendees more bang for the buck. Capt 'n Fishbones offered two good-sized pieces of fish for $3, which many took advantage of after paying $5 to get in.

For Fishbones and the Gulf Coast Fudge Co., it was hard not to attend, since they operate out of the Shell Factory.

"It's a great event the Chamber puts on and we're blessed to be a part of it," said Joey Heuglin of Gulf Coast Fudge Co. "We have chocolate bacon and hand-rolled pretzels and ice cream. The weather calmed down and it's been great."

It wasn't a long trip for Taquizza, located on Pine Island Road near Old 41. Owner Juan Martinez got a steady flow of customers for their tacos, tamales, tortillas and other Mexican fare.

"We're excited to be here to support the local chamber. We have big portions and small prices," Martinez said. "For $4 you can have two tacos or two tamales with guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and beans. You name it."

It was also a good opportunity to patronize other businesses locally. The Crossings at Hancock Creek and Grace Advisory Group were there, along with Means Chiropractic and Liberty Tax Service came, along with groups such as the Gulf Coast Humane Society, which was looking to adopt out dogs, and Homes for Heroes.

The Lee County Economic Development Office was also there to hand out cards for the Dine Local North Fort Myers program.

Rachel Busch brought her family along, including husband Peter from NBC-2 who served as emcee, and three daughters.

"I'm not afraid to work on Sunday and my girls love to come to these kinds of events. They're actually great salespeople for the Dine Local program," Busch said. "We like to donate our time to the community this way."

There were also raffles to support the Chamber's Foundation and scholarships, live music from the Country Express and the Shell Factory brought out animals from the petting zoo.

As for the rain, it did bring Sherri Burke, on vacation from Cleveland. She was going to go to Sanibel, but the morning rain dampened that idea.

"I've tried Johnsonville and Applebee's. I didn't like all the cheeses at Applebee's though my friends enjoyed it. Johnsonville's sausage was very tasty and tender," Burke said. "My girlfriends said we should go here and by chance this was going on and we're having a blast."



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