Get Down To MacDown!

Give Kids The World Village is hosting O-Town MacDown, Saturday September 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Osceola Heritage Park. At this fun family event you’ll find 1) Unlimited Mac-n-Cheese and 2) Loads of vendors, kids activities, character meet and greets, cooking demos an MORE. (That could have been 2 thru…)!

izon macdown-1

Click on this link to see an awesome video produced by iZon Orlando about the GKTW Blogger Bash and O-Town MacDown!

baloon dragon medieval timesThis delicious “food fight” cooking competition featuring professional chefs and restaurants! It’s a great event for the whole family.

One of the great vendors again this year is Medieval Times. Will we have a fire (smoke!)-breathing dragon? I can’t wait to find out!

I’m looking forward to a special food demo this year by Chef Manny Washington, one of the latest winners on Cutthroat Kitchen!

RR at MacDown

Mayor Clayton and Miss Merry, and Rugby and Reme with a great little volunteer, Daniel.

There is a limited amount of tickets for this event, so make sure you purchase your tickets early before this delicious event sells out!

$10 for Adults (or $15 at the door)
$5 for Kids (or $10 at the door)
Get Your Advanced Tickets Now at otownmacdown.org

Attendance and participation benefit Give Kids The World Village.

Thanks to the amazing sponsors including some of my favorites:
Applebee’s
Boston Market
Cabot Creamery / Florida Dairy Farmers
Catering For Good
Chef Lauren Cooke
Chef Emmanuel Estrella and Chef Juan Navarro
Chef Jennifer Delinger
Walt Disney World Port Orleans
Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Fox and Hounds
Graffiti Junktion
Hard Rock Café Orlando
Hurricane Bar & Grill
Jillycakes
Le Cordon Bleu
Maggiano’s Little Italy
Chef Joel Padilla
Pammie’s Sammies
Paramount Fine Foods
Ponderosa
Rainforest Café
Red Lobster
Chef Andrew Roch
Shubee’s Coastal Bar & Grille
Smokey Bones
The Outpost
Tin Roof
Tom and Chee
Chef Richard West
World Food Championships

Give Kids The World Village is a 74-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort, located near Central Florida’s most beloved attractions, where childrHard Rock characters smen with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations. For more information, please visit givekidstheworld.org

Disney on Ice! at Amway Center

Disney on Ice Mickey Mouse Club 100 Years Of Magic TwitterTickets are now on sale for Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt. This monumental ice skating spectacular is coming to the Amway Center in Orlando from September 4-6, 2015 for six performances.

Belle on IceAs a child of Disney films (and a HUGE ice skating fan), I’m excited to see some of my favorite movie moments come to life. Of special interest to (ahem) MY generation are the more “classic” story lines… like Disney’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. I can already picture Belle twirling and swirling on the ice with Beast, golden dress swishing! ♫ Tale as old as time… ♫ Or maybe she’ll be dreaming and reading as the townspeople wonder about that peculiar girl. “Here’s where she meets Prince Charming. But she won’t discover that it’s him till chapter three.”

filmstrip of disnsey on ice copyNot to be missed in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic: Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse himself will lead a parade of more than 50 beloved characters including Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and featuring an ensemble of Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana. The wintry wonderland of Disney’s Frozen also comes to life with Anna, Elsa, and the hilarious Olaf, as they discover that true love is the greatest magic of all.

The legacy of Disney is displayed through 14 classic and modern stories in this epic production that features an international team of award-winning figure skaters, high-energy choreography and a breathtaking set. With over 30 melodious masterpieces such as “Let It Go!,” “You’ve Got A Friend in Me” and “Hakuna Matata,” Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic is the ultimate Disney fan experience.

Where:  Amway Center, 400 West Church Street – Suite 200, Orlando, Florida 32801

Dates and Times of Performances:
Friday, September 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 5 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 6 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices and Purchase:
Tickets start at $25. Also available at $30, $40, $60, $75 (VIP) and $100 (Rink side).
(Ticketmaster service charges and facility fees not included.) All seats are reserved, and tickets are now on sale to the public. Tickets are available at http://www.DisneyOnIce.com or http://www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone for information only: 407-440-7900).  For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.

Promo code!
Use the promo code MOM5 to receive $5 off per ticket* for the show. Enter the code at checkout. *Not valid on VIP or Rink Side seating. Hurry for the best available seats! Code expires September 3, 2015.

Rafflecopter logo linkWant to win tickets? I’m giving away 4!

Click on the Rafflecopter image at left and follow the steps to be entered to win 4 tickets to either the Friday, Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m. or Saturday, Sept. 5, 11 a.m. showing.

For a complete list of tour dates, visit the Disney On Ice website (http://www.disneyonice.com) and stay current on the latest developments through social media:

• Facebook  (www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce)
• Twitter  (@DisneyOnIce/@NicoleFeld (show’s producer twitter feed))
• YouTube  (www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce)

Disclosure: I am a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador. In exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my honest opinions on social media, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities.

Lake Buena Vista Shopping Giveaway

LBV20121102-186Back to school means back to school shopping. Want to do all that shopping with a $50 gift card?

Win a $50 gift card to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

As a mom, I want to get the best deals possible. (Even though we homeschool, we still have a growing boy who wants to look good, too at co-ops and other events.)

Cash registers will be ringing during back-to-school shopping very, VERY soon. (Now WHERE did the summer go?!) Good news, though: The Florida Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01am, Friday, August 7 and ends at 11:59pm, Sunday, August 16, so plan now to take advantage of that. I’ll be looking for deals throughout the month.

I’ll be shopping at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, where shopping is hassle-free and you can find factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off (and sometimes more). Plus, there’s easy store front parking, so getting in and out quickly is a breeze!

Stop by VF Outlet (one of my favorites) while you’re at the mall. I always find a deal there on dresses and ladies underwear. They have school uniforms too if, you know, back to school shopping isn’t just for the mom! (We need a few things now and again, too! And during the sales tax holiday, it’s a great time!)

 Here’s your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the mall, where you can select merchandise at most of their outlet shops and get great deals at U.S. Polo Assn., Nike, OshKosh B’Gosh, Tommy Hilfiger Stores, plus other well-known outlets including G by GUESS, Justice, Carter’s, Crocs, Calvin Klein, Levi’s®, Aeropostale, Converse, Famous Footwear Outlet, Fossil, Rack Room Shoes, and many more. Several stores sell approved uniform merchandise. Don’t forget to stop by and treat yourself at Lindt Chocolate, too! Sorry, Gap and Old Navy outlets do not accept gift certificates.

Rafflecopter logo linkEnter through Rafflecopter at left. This is a quick contest that starts today and ends August 4 at midnight.

Even if you don’t win, you can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s website, then bringing it to Travelpro at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. Savvy discount shoppers can learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours by following the center on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as visiting www.lbvfs.com. Many stores offer last-minute deals so it’s a great idea to follow the center and check back online frequently! Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located just one mile from Walt Disney World at 15657 State Road 535 (Vineland) Orlando, FL 32821-6316, and two miles south of I-4, Exit 68. Summer Hours are in place Monday-Saturday, 10am-9:30pm, and 10am-7pm on Sunday.

Happy shopping!

Disclosure: I received a $50 gift card in exchange for this post and my honest input. I’m not disclosing how much I’ve spent there when I didn’t have a gift card JUST this past month. ;-)

Taste of Orlando Helps Ensure No Kid Hungry

Social Graphics4Forty-four of the area’s most accomplished chefs will showcase tasting portions of signature dishes, accompanied by fine wines, craft beers and specialty cocktails August 8, 2015 at the Orlando World Center Marriott, to ensure that no child grows up hungry in our city and across America.

Proceeds from this event support children’s nutrition programs provided by local beneficiaries Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, regional beneficiary Florida Impact, and national beneficiary Share Our Strength. Every dollar raised fights hunger and homelessness in the Central Florida. Local beneficiaries include Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Tickets can be purchased HERE. As an adult who was a hungry child in Orlando, I hope you’ll come out to support this event that helps so many.

 

Giraffe Feeding at Busch Gardens, Tampa #WorldGiraffeDay

Looking for a fantastic animal interaction? Look no further than Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay! We recently spent the day out on the Serengeti with an amazing tower of giraffes. (Did you know a herd of giraffes is called a “tower”?)

giraffe feeding busch gardens serengeti plainOur visit was in celebration of my husband’s birthday. We like to do experiences instead of buying gifts for one another, and this is one that’s been on our list for quite a while.

We booked our tour when we arrived at Busch Gardens at the Adventure Tour desk, next to the Kenya Kanteen, right before the Animal Care Center in Nairobi. We showed our annual passes for a discount and were pleased to hear the tours weren’t all filled for the day. (You can book online to ensure availability.) In a crazy twist of “birthday magic” we had a vehicle all to ourselves (though the tours before and after were both to capacity). It would have been fun, too, to be with other groups on the adventure, though! (I love seeing all the peoples’ expressions in animal interactions. Ha!)

Busch Gardens African Animals giraffe wide smFor the 30-minute off-road safari tour of the Serengeti plain, we boarded an open-air touring vehicle to trek across the 65-acre Serengeti Plain®. Along the way we saw (as pictured above:) Kudu, Eland, Giraffes, Rhinos and Zebras to name just a few.

We enjoyed taking our photo safari through the plain and excitedly pointed out the magnificent animals we passed. My 8-year-old didn’t even have time to ask what they were, as our expert guide filled us in on each of the species. I confess I loved every minute of it and was super excited to also get to the feeding the giraffes!

As we drove into the giraffe’s favorite hangout, we saw lots of long legs ambling our way. Giraffes sauntered up to our vehicle and not-too-shyly poked their heads up and over the rail. Our guide handed us lettuce and then it really got interesting!

Leaf after leaf was pleasantly taken from us by long purple tongues. Our family giggled and grinned when a huge head came in from one side, then bobbed out and popped in again on the other side. The tour photographer Brad captured every excited face and ear-to-ear grin, and we had our cameras snapping as well (and even got a few #giraffeselfies).Giraffe selfie

We took turns feeding them by ourselves. Then we posed with each of us holding a leaf. I don’t even remember running out of lettuce, as it was so fun being up close and personal with these “TOWERING” (I couldn’t help myself) animals.

While the experience is an add-on to your Busch Gardens ticket, I can assure you it’s one you don’t want to miss. Our memories of this day are priceless.

Today, June 20, is World Giraffe Day. It seemed like the perfect time to share our  adventure….

Florida Hospital Foundation’s Gourmet Soiree

The Florida Hospital Foundation‘s Gourmet Soiree, Sunday, May 3, 2015, is one of Orlando’s top “foodie” events of the year. Featuring host Chef Robert Irvine (Restaurant Impossible) and local food celebs and co-chairpersons Emily Ellyn (Next Food Network Star contestant and recent winner of Cutthroat Kitchen) and Kendra Lott (editor, Edible Orlando), Gourmet Soiree is not your average fundraising gala. While some events are tuxes and gowns with food brought TO you, at Gourmet Soiree the guests actively participate in their table’s creations.

140518_Canon (134c)

Retro Rad Chef Emily Ellyn (from the Next Food Network Star and Cutthroat Kitchen winner) is co-chair of Gourmet Soiree 2015.

Last year I went to my first Gourmet Soiree at Rosen Shingle Creek. The magnificent ballroom was beautiful, adorned not in flowers and fluff, but food, glorious FOOD!

Whole Foods Market, one of the event’s biggest sponsors, provided mountains of vibrant vegetables and scores of spices among other delicious options for the chefs and their tables. From those delicious pantries guests gathered their grocery listed items to create wonderful, healthy, delicious meals. Who would win the Silver Fork? We were most interested in creating our own award-winning meal as judged by those who designed our table’s menu: Us.

foods for gourmet soiree

In addition to the fun of working with a top local chef and learning tips and techniques, there was a huge silent auction with offerings from exotic trips to luxury merchandise. In the midst of all of that, was the ever-inspiring Robert Irvine whose hosting got the whole room pumped up and excited about Florida Hospital for Mission fit Possible that goes into schools to teach them about healthy eating and healthy living.

140518_Canon (115b)This year’s Gourmet Soiree promises to be even more exciting, with chefs from all over Central Florida from the top restaurants including Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant Wine Bar, John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, Trina Gregory-Propst with Se7enbites, and Andres Mendoza with Norman’s to name but a very few.

The auction lineup is equally impressive:  LeVian Chocolate Diamonds, a SeaWorld dream package for 6 (which I would LOVE to win, LOL), tickets from Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, cupcakes for a year from Gigi’s Cupcakes Orlando, and an entire bookshelf of cookbooks, most signed by the authors. There are golf packages, amazing trips, and a personal favorite: stuffed animals and books from RugbyAndReme.com.

It’s not too late to support the work of Florida Hospital’s Mission fit to fight childhood obesity, and all their programs by participating in Gourmet Soiree. Visit their website to see how you can help, get involved, or buy a ticket so you can sit at the table next to mine as I help cook up something great that just “might” win the chef from our table that Silver Fork….

Gourmet Soiree 2014 Chefs

Chef Robert Irvine with the many talented chefs who made Gourmet Soiree 2014 at Rosen Shingle Creek a tremendous success.

 

Boxcar Children Birthday

boxcar birthday 2My son Daniel loves the Boxcar Children. Seriously LOVES them. We’re either reading them together, or he’s listening to them on audiobook format or through our Scribd subscription. We buy them in the bookstore, borrow them from the library, trade them with other kids and have even picked up a few at yard sales. It’s a serious obsession at our house to find out what mystery the Alden children will help solve next! Naturally, then, we just had to create our own for his birthday: They Mystery of the Missing 7-Year-Old. (Spoiler alert: The 7-year-old is missing, because now he’s EIGHT!)

Months before the big day, the birthday boy and I did a search on what foods are mentioned in Boxcar Children book titles. The Boxcar Children website gave us lots of options to get us thinking.

bed pieces photo for Boxcar Children post Kelly Greenkreg joint for Boxcar Children post photo by Kelly GreenNext we started the plan for building a boxcar in our back yard. Not being overly handy, I got the idea to transform a wooden bunk bed into a boxcar. Thanks to an online auction site, we found one for $30. It was a little worn, but hey… it would become an old box car, so a few nicks and dings would add to the character!

ladybug for Boxcar Children post photo by Kelly Green

This ladybug wanted in on the fun!

We assembled it as per the instructions, but to make it extra safe, we brought out my Kreg jig to secure each joint for added support, then had 2 x 4s cut to its length so we’d have a roof. The whole thing was painted with an exterior paint/primer in an antique red color. We chose one of those OKed by the historical society to make it look super authentic.

staple screen for Boxcar Children post photo by Kelly GreenFine mesh vinyl screening was then wrapped around it and secured with staples. I used the same paint to loosely sketch out the outline of board slats, and then accented them with black and brown for more depth and realism. The pièce de résistance was the four plastic lid tops we screwed onto each of the corners for the wheels. (My son insisted that four was the proper number for our boxcar since he once saw an illustration for one of the first original Gertrude Chandler Warner books, and IT had just 4 wheels from what we could see in the picture, so to be authentic….)completed boxcar for Boxcar Children post photo by Kelly Green

decoder for Boxcar Children post photo by Kelly GreenFor the party we began with a mystery! The kids had to go on a type of scavenger hunt. Clues included having to use a cipher to read a location, various code puzzles, and they were even required to use the metal detector Daniel’s grandparents sent him as a present to dig up yet another clue (like geocaching in The Box That Watch Found). It took about 45 minutessentence code for Boxcar Children post photo by Kelly Green for the gaggle of kids to traipse from one end of our neighborhood to the other on the hunt for all the clues and to unravel the code sentences (pictured at right). look at clues

The very last clue led to the food table, where everyone (who was now acting the part of Bennie—always hungry) got the prize of some fun snacks and treats.

boxcar food for Boxcar Children post photo by Kelly GreenI of course had to get a little creative with some of the foods, though we did have a great start on the list. We served chocolate alligators as an homage to The Mystery of the Alligator Swamp and had lemonade as mentioned in The Boardwalk Mystery. My “Boxcar Brie” was the hardest to fit into the Boxcar world! After much searching, however, I found a quote from the original Boxcar Children book where “Jessie… cut the loaf of bread into five big pieces. The cheese was cut into four pieces.” OK, so she wasn’t talking about brie and habanero pepper relish wrapped in croissant dough, but the grownups wanted some treats for them, too!

cake with Daniel for Boxcar Children post photo by Kelly Green Gigi's Cupcakes OrlandoThe star item was, of course, delicious desserts from Gigi’s Cupcakes, Orlando. Not only did we have adorable cupcakes with fondant books on them (in birthday-boy-approved flavors!), but an 8″ round with a scene that came right out of The Boxcar Children books! They even made gluten free cupcakes for those at our party with gluten sensitivities. Everyone enjoyed how cute AND delicious they were. For the record, the cupcakes were Double Stuff (with a cute little Oreo on top), Italian Cream, and Miss Princess, a white cake baked with fresh strawberries, topped with a cream cheese frosting. Italian Cream was my pick. I LOVE that one!

group pic party

Reading off the first clue for the kids. What isn’t pictured is the mad dash they made as soon as I said GO!

 

We had lots more activities… some of which we even had time to do! We printed out little fingerprint ID cards for little guests to check in with upon arrival (one never knows when a guest might turn into a suspect!), and printed out the great word find puzzle available from the Boxcar Children website.

Some of the kids were familiar with Boxcar Children before the party, but ALL learned about them through the course of the afternoon. Daniel was happy to share his passion about the world of the Aldens, and the mysteries they uncover. What we uncovered was fun, friendship, food and fiction… from a great series of children’s series we highly recommend.

 

Giveaway for Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

If you know me at all, you know I am not a huge shopper. At the mall you have to park on THIS end while what you end up buying is at THAT end. I’m more of what you’d call a “hunter/gatherer.” I know I want a spring dress, size (redacted), “this” cost, “such and such” brand if possible, and OH I’d like to enjoy my shopping experience.

LBVFS ShoppersBecause I’m so picky (even when I’m shopping for either my son or husband), I enjoy the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores when the hunt is on!

They have factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off (and sometimes more). Plus, there’s easy store front parking, so getting in and out quickly is really easy!

April 10th-12th they’re having a big sidewalk sale. I went last year, and it was fun, not only to see all the great deals, but because they have special vendors all around, and activities for the kids, too.

The Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores were kind enough to give my readers a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the mall.

Rafflecopter logo linkHere’s how to enter: Click the Rafflecopter image and follow the directions. Make sure you visit the Rafflecopter page and the “People can enter by…” section.

 Even if you don’t win, you can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s website, then bringing it to Travelpro at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. Many stores offer additional savings from 20-40% off to “Friends & Family.”  Savvy discount shoppers can learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours by following the center on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as visiting www.lbvfs.com. Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located just one mile from Walt Disney World at 15657 S. Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535), Orlando, FL 32821-6316, and two miles south of I-4, Exit 68. Stores are open Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm, and 10am-7pm on Sunday.

At the Lake Buena Vista Outlet Stores you can select merchandise at over 50 spacious outlet shops and get great deals at the area’s only Old Navy outlet store, plus other well-known outlets including U.S. Polo Assn., Lindt Chocolate, Nike, OshKosh B’Gosh, Tommy Hilfiger Stores, G by GUESS, Justice, Carter’s, Crocs, Calvin Klein, Levi’s®, Aeropostale, Converse, Famous Footwear Outlet, Fossil, Gap, Rack Room Shoes, and many more.

Join me on the hunt. Mama needs a new pair of shoes!

Video Tour of Hyatt Regency Orlando

Recently our family was invited* to take a tour of the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Spacious rooms, impeccable grounds, a beautiful spa, and delicious dining add up to a wonderful place to stay when in Orlando!

 

 

Some of our favorite moments:

The 24-Hour B Diner — My husband swears if I make broccoli rabe like they do he’ll eat it every night. Their meatloaf is amazing. Don’t forget to try the blackened fish sandwich and pretty much ANY dessert in the huge case!

Pool — There’s a slide, waterfalls, and a splash pad, plus ample lounge chairs and cabanas in which to sit while the excellent staff from Coconuts Poolside Bar & Grill serve you tastes of the tropics. Relax with a Lounge Chair Lizard if you’re so inclined.

Event Space — I’m often asked about venue event spaces, and the Hyatt Regency Orlando does not disappoint. They have meeting space for groups of all sizes and configurations. The Give Kids The World Black and White Gala, which I attended there last year, was over-the-top. The staff did an excellent job. GKTW will be having the event there again this year, it has been so successful. (Buy your tickets for this year’s May 9 event.)

Spa — Though I didn’t get a chance to get any treatments personally, I was impressed with their spa and salon offerings and peaceful decor. I watched the staff interact with customers, and they were really attentive (without being obtrusive, if you know what I mean). I’d definitely suggest a ladies’ event there! There’s an outdoor spa section, and I can just see a bride and her maids relaxing together before the “big day.” Fun!

Whether planning a visit to one of Central Florida’s great theme parks or arranging a company-wide retreat or trade show, the Hyatt Regency Orlando should be on your list. Don’t forget to check out their Spring dining specials including some unique wine pairing events with world-renowned winemakers.

The Hyatt Regency Orlando is located at 9801 International Drive, Orlando, Florida, USA, 32819. Book now or call for more information: 407-284-1234.

*Disclosure: I have stayed at this property as a “regular” guest, an event patron, and
as a hosted guest to film the footage for this video . On that particular day,
the hotel provided our family with meals and the opportunity to enjoy the facility
we know and enjoy so much in exchange for an honest review.

Downtown Food and Wine Fest: A Feast for the Senses

Downtown Food & Wine Fest 2015 1200 x 1200This weekend Orlando will be a food-lover’s dream-come-true when the 7th annual Downtown Food and Wine Fest comes to town Saturday, February 21 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 22, 2015 (noon to 7 p.m.). More than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers are expected to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe. The Fest is held on E. Robinson Street at Lake Eola, in the heart of Orlando.

Dave Robbins, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando (event presenter and producer) commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our FRLA restaurants, foodies and fans come together to celebrate an event that truly brings our community together to indulge in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Orlando.”

Over 30 of Orlando’s top restaurants will be on-hand serving up Tapas-style plates for anywhere from $2 to $6. Just a few of my favorites include Hard Rock who will have their Award Winning Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Marlow’s Tavern (serving up their shrimp and grits that I LOVE!), Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe (give their Pretzel w/ Obatzer Cheese Dip a try) and Cooper’s Hawk with Red Wine Braised Short Rib.

There’s a Wine Taster’s Club with a special wine sampling lanyard that will allow you to sample 2 oz. samples of 5 different fine wines, but there are over 50 types of wine on tap. Little Black Dress Wines are the official wine of the 2015 Downtown Food & Wine Fest. Check them out along with all the other amazing offerings.

Entertainment lineup includes musical entertainment and Lifehouse Saturday and Loverboy on Sunday. Plus there will be other acts throughout the weekend, including Osteen Florida native, CeCe Teneal.

A glimpse of my last meal at Siro at Orlando World Center Marriott.

A glimpse of my last meal at Siro at Orlando World Center Marriott.

As a highlight of this celebration of Orlando’s Culinary Scene, restaurants will compete for the 2015 Golden Fork awards. Judges for the 2015 Downtown Food & Wine Festival will include Kayla Becker the Host of Orlando My Way,  Kala Rama from WKMG- Local6 news, Bo Outlaw, Orlando Magic Community Ambassador, and Scott Fais,  News Journalist on News 13. Previous winners include:Smiling Bison – Pretzel Bread Pudding, 2014 Foodie AwardKasa Tapas & Raw Bar,2014 Best Overall Menu; Siro at Orlando World Center Marriott, 2014 Best of Show (winner in 2013 and 2014).

For the Ultimate experience, buy tickets for the Ultimate Fest Experience that includes the Wine Taster’s Club, $20 in food tickets, great viewing of the bands, plus VIP parking! Click here for all the ticket options.

See you this weekend for a fabulous foodie FEST!

 

Disclosure: I was given two admission tickets for the event in exchange for writing about this fun food event. I’ll be buying my own food and wine. And lots of it!