RUSKIN – The Good Samaritan Mission is hosting the spiciest party in town Saturday – the 2014 Family Salsa Festival. The day-long event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the mission, 14920 Balm Wimauma Road, Wimauma.
Everyone is invited to attend this celebration of the community and all things salsa. More than 50 vendors will be on hand, including local businesses, craft vendors, area nonprofit groups and government agencies, offering information about services they provide locally.
Visitors will find everything from hot dogs, hamburgers and crab cakes to Mediterranean kebobs and authentic Mexican cuisine to satisfy their food cravings.
The Salsa Recipe Contest begins at 1 p.m. A maximum of 10 contestants may enter four categories – mild, hot, bean and fruit. Visitors can sample each amateur and professional entry and help select the People's Choice Award. Students of the culinary program at the South Shore Career College won the last competition and it should be an exciting challenge this year with very serious contenders.
At 3 p.m. the favorite salsa winner will be announced and receive the coveted certificate acknowledging their winning secret recipe. Immediately following, a drawing will take place for Gloria Smith's handmade quilt for those who registered early at the information booth.
The festival will include special activities for children all day, including games, face painting, puppet theater and the Home Depot Kids Workshop, where children can build their own toy to take home at no charge. Crafts made by GSM volunteers will be available on site at La Casita. Mission tours and information also will be available throughout the day.
“With tours of our facility, we hope to increase understanding of Good Samaritan Mission and build relationships within the community,” said office manager Jennifer Daly.
Attendance at the festival is free. Parking is $5 per vehicle; motorcycles park free.
Proceeds will support Good Samaritan Mission's efforts to enhance the spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical well-being of local farmworkers and others living in poverty throughout the community. Although the mission receives grants to fund various adult education programs, utilities and other basic overhead expenses are not included. The mission anticipates $200,000 in expenses for 2014, and the festival is its largest fundraiser.
“I think it will be such a fun event,” said event organizer Anne Madden. “Most of the vendors are local with an interest in serving area residents. We'll have giveaways for kids, and the food will be fabulous. It's all about establishing and cultivating relationships in the community and building awareness about its diversity.”
For more information, visit www.familysaalsafestival.com or call the mission at (813) 634-7136.
Dosi Loverro is a freelance writer who can reached at [email protected]