Letter: Taste of the Beach more than good food

Letter: Taste of the Beach more than good food

Rachael L Bennett
St Augustine Beach, FL

Dear Editor:

I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the 7th Annual Taste of the Beach on Sunday as a volunteer waitress for the judges’ table. I ran up and down those pavilion steps a hundred times; bringing samples for the judges to taste, but it was a lot of fun for a worthwhile cause that is close to me.

One of the many things that I love about our community is how accessible it is by bicycle. I did not have to worry about driving or finding a place to park – I just hopped on my bicycle and sailed down to the pier park.

We live in a great area that affords so many opportunities for family and community oriented outdoor events, like the Taste of the Beach.

The pavilion was a beehive of upbeat activity during the set-up time; with each restaurant getting their food ready, their display table set up, and their signs hung.

When the public began to arrive, everything was set and the “fiesta” began.

Amici’s Italian Restaurant, SnackTime Anytime, Gas Full Service, Mango Mango’s, Napoli’s Italian Restaurant, Panama Hattie’s, Paula’s Beachside Grill, Purple Olive, Red Frog & McToad’s Grub-n-Pub, RIPE Bistro, Sister Shack, South Beach Grille, Sunset Grill, and the Wildflower Cafe’ all participated. If I missed anyone, I apologize – all of the food was delicious.

The five celebrity judges were Mayor of St. Augustine Beach, Gary Snodgrass; Former Mayor of St. Augustine Beach, Frank Charles; Chairman Visitors Convention Bureau, John Fraser; Coldwell Banker Premier Properties, Steve Cupolo; and Coldwell Banker Premier Properties, Jennifer Sauvage.

I am proud to tell you that I am “in training” to become a victim advocate with Betty Griffin House. It is a long and in-depth process; and I am learning a lot. As you know, the Taste of the Beach is not only an excellent community activity, but also a fundraiser for the Betty Griffin House. The local non-profit agency provides emergency shelter to abused women or men and their minor children as well as temporary shelter for rape victims in danger after the crime.

I want to send a big “Thank You” to the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association for organizing the event, and especially to our great community who came out in support of the event and of the Betty Griffin House.

Rachael L Bennett is a candidate for the St Johns County Commission for District 5 and owns an independent consulting firm at St Augustine Beach named “Cogito”. She is a University of Florida graduate. Her career spans employment as a landscape architectural consultant, she was a planner at one of the region’s leading engineering firms, and she worked as a land planner for a Jacksonville company for the past six years. Prior to starting her own consulting firm in January, Bennett held an appointment as Junior Alternate to the Planning and Zoning Board for the City of St Augustine Beach, where she resides.

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