Fort Lauderdale features white sand beaches stretching out over 23 miles, a tropical climate, and breathtaking natural vistas, all of which have attracted travelers since the 1940’s. The city is commonly referred to as the “Venice of America” thanks to numerous canals and more than 165 miles worth of waterways. In addition to the abundant water, visitors to the city must visit Las Olas Boulevard. The area is overflowing with boutique shops, restaurants, community events, and nightlife hotspots.
The Las Olas Wine and Food Festival has been a signature area event for the past two decades, and this year’s event will take place April 21 on Las Olas Boulevard between SE 6th Ave and SE 11th Ave. The festival is one of the top culinary events in South Florida and will feature more than 70 restaurants from the region, serving up an array of dishes, snacks, and treats. More than 45 wineries, breweries, and spirit producers will also be on hand serving up samples and talking about their products. Celebrity Chef Ralph Pagano will host a Best of the Best Chef’s Competition that’s sure to entertain the masses with live cooking and music from DJ IRIE. All of the event’s proceeds will go to the American Lung Association South Florida which aims to raise awareness and funds to help combat lung illnesses. We got the opportunity to interview Rachel Creveling, a representative for the event, to learn more about this Fort Lauderdale food and wine extravaganza.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
RC: This is the 22nd year of the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
RC: Last year, we had somewhere around 2,500 attendees, and organizers expect the same amount this year.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
RC: The event is perfect for wine and food lovers of all kinds, as long as they are 21 years of age or older.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
RC: 100% of the proceeds will go to the American Lung Association South Florida. The tickets are all-inclusive and give guests the opportunity to enjoy unlimited wine and food from over 100 vendors.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
RC: Everything is centered around eating and drinking! Attendees will find incredible outdoor lounges on every block featuring sponsors Woodford Reserve, New Amsterdam Vodka, Cadillac, Hardrock, and more.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
RC: Yes, the Best of the Best Chef Competition will feature DJ IRIE and MC Celebrity Chef Ralph Pagano.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
RC: There are endless food choices. The event will feature a variety of foods from more than 70 of South Florida's top restaurants.
RAL: What is the environment like?
RC: It's under the stars on one of the only nights that Las Olas Boulevard closes to traffic.
RAL: Is there a lodging provider in particular that guests have been flocking to since the event started?
RC: The Riverside Hotel is at the center of all the action! The event spans five blocks so anywhere within a 10-minute Uber drive is a great option.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
RC: The event raised over $100,000 for ALA last year, directly serving the needs of South Florida.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
RC: Absolutely, it is a showcase of the best local restaurants and wineries. Plus many of the attendees partake in additional activities all over the city.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
RC: It has been the best food and wine event in Fort Lauderdale for the last 22 years. This is not your average wine or food festival -- this is an opportunity to participate in a VIP philanthropic event featuring an unexpected level of luxury throughout the iconic scene of “Las Olas.” Don’t forget the signature wine glass necklaces!
For more information about the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival, please visit the event website.