Country Club East residents Joan Nilsson and Pat Collins chatted easily, wine glasses in hand, as they lingered beneath a white canopy tent, pausing for wine samples and tastes of food, such as Macadamia nut-crusted snapper, butter chicken and tiramisu.
Every year, the women and their husbands — Jim Nilsson and Mark Collins — attend the Suncoast Food and Wine Festival at the Sarasota Polo Club. The event is hosted by the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch and 100% of proceeds from sponsorships and ticket sales benefit local charities and Rotary initiatives through a grant process.
“We support it because it’s a great cause and we come because it’s great fun,” Pat Collins says.
The Nilssons have another home in Connecticut and time their travels so they can attend.
About 1,800 guests turned out for the the 16th annual event featuring food from more than 40 restaurants and more than 100 types of wine to sample. Guests also enjoyed craft beer samples, cooking demonstrations and live music.
Event sponsor Artistree Landscape Maintenance & Design transformed the Sarasota Polo Club sidelines from a grassy lawn to a colorful, lush oasis filled with palm trees and other tropical plants.