By TIFFANY REPECKI, firstname.lastname@example.org
Approximately 800 people attended the first-ever Foreign Beer Fest on Saturday.
The event, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral, featured more than a dozen restaurants and bars completing for the title of “Best Foreign Beer.” From 7-11 p.m., the venues offered samplings of beer and appetizers, and trolleys were available to shuffle attendees from location to location.
“We had a good turnout,” Sam Huber, the club’s foundation president, said.
There were about 900 tickets sold for the event with about 100 were not redeemed.
Proceeds from the event will help purchase food for the backpack program that the Kiwanis Club sponsors for Lee County students. Each week volunteers fill backpacks with seven pounds of food that children take home for the weekend.
Huber estimated that Saturday’s event raised between $4,000 and $6,000.
In addition to helping local children, the fund-raiser showcased the Cape venues.
For friends Betty Sue Townsend and Linda Hardt, that is why they purchased tickets.
“So we could check out a lot of different places we haven’t been,” Townsend said.
Hardt added that attendees get food, drinks and transportation for $15.
“You can’t beat that,” she said.
The participating restaurants and bars included:
* Back Streets
* Bahama Mammas
* Cape Dog & Deli
* Chicago Pizza
* Cruiser’s Lounge
* La Terraza 47
* Leapin Lizard
* Monkey Bar & Steakhouse
* Paradise Tiki Hut
* Rack’Em Billards
* Ralph’s Place
* Royal Key
* Sal’s Pizza
* Steamer’s Sports Shack
* Wine & Roses Restaurant
The women, both Cape residents, had been to about eight venues before stopping at the Monkey Bar. Hardt said each location had a different theme and the hosts were friendly.
Both loved the Hawaiian vibe created by Chicago Pizza, including dancers, and they praised the spread at Wine & Roses. Townsend said they will likely go for dinner soon.
“The whole experience is great,” she said.
“Great weather,” Hardt added. “Great turnout.”
Attendees were asked to select their favorite three venues by the end of the night. Though Huber did not know the winning order Sunday because he had not counted the ballots, he said the top three picks were Chicago Pizza, Sal’s Pizza and Wine & Roses.
They will be given a $500, $300 and $100 prize, depending on rank, and a banner to display year-round.
A panel of celebrity judges was also selected to pick their top three choices based on atmosphere and originality. Huber said first place went to Chicago Pizza. Second and third place were still being determined Sunday because of a tie, but Cruiser’s and Wine & Roses rounded out the top three.
They will be awarded a $500, $300 and $100 prize.
“I think everything went absolutely smoothly, and the participants went above and beyond,” Huber said. “A few places have commented about how much fun it was.”
This was the first time that the Kiwanis Club had hosted the foreign beer event.
“We weren’t sure what to expect,” he said. “We came into there with pretty much no history.”
Huber guaranteed that this will not be the organization’s last trolley fund-raiser. During the Fourth of July weekend, it will host a similar event, with the salute to domestic beer. To participate in “Red, White and Brew,” e-mail Sam Huber at email@example.com.