Thousands packed into Festival Green at Camana Bay Saturday night to enjoy Taste of Cayman, which organizers say was the most successful to date.
The island’s annual food and wine festival highlights Cayman’s vibrant culinary scene, and this year’s Taste did not disappoint, with more than 30 restaurants offering samples of their signature cuisine alongside 10 wine, beer and spirit vendors.
Although precise attendance numbers were still being finalized as of press time, Jane van der Bol, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, said this year’s event attracted record numbers.
“Based on pre-ticket sales, we are pretty sure we have one of the highest attendance records to date with close to 5,000 people,” van der Bol said.
“All vendors were geared up for a big crowd with plenty of food and drink ready, and the volunteers had been well trained and were on track, so everything went smoothly with no queues at the gate.
“The two live bands, Swanky Kitchen Band and ABBA Mania, also brought a great deal of excitement to the field,” she said. “We found that because of this, guests stayed longer at the festival than they had done in previous years, and we anticipate as a result of this higher food and beverage sales.”
Van der Bol added, “One of the exciting things that stands out is the Best of Competition, which vendors take very seriously. A lot of vendors really took time this year to make sure their booths looked great, which really gives the event the ‘wow’ factor.”
She said the Best of Competition winners, which includes Best Booth and Best Food, will be announced as soon as the results have been tallied.
Now in its 26th year, the Taste of Cayman is the island’s largest culinary event and one of the most-anticipated food festivals in the Caribbean. Additional highlights at this year’s event included the fireworks display, heavy cake and mixologist competitions and cooking demonstrations. Guests also had the chance to win flights to Panama courtesy of Cayman Airways, or tickets to the Taste of London, including air-tickets and spending money, courtesy of Flava magazine, a Pinnacle Media publication.
Participating vendors this year included Pepper’s Smokehouse, The Beach House, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Periwinkle at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Dukes Seafood & Rib Shack, Osetra Bay, Da Fish Shack and Al La Kebab to name just a few.
“We want to give people a night of experience and memories and believe this year we truly achieved that,” van der Bol added.