The Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation Foundation, merchants’ association and chamber of commerce will partner to launch a new event in the downtown Wrightsville Beach area that will showcase beach restaurants. Foundation president Lisa Weeks said she and South Beach Grill owner John Andrews began developing the idea a few years ago and that the recent success of the Fire on the Dock competitive dining series prompted them to launch the event this fall.
"We feel like it will be a great, potentially annual event for the community," Weeks said. "I think the area is really hungry for something like this. I’ve been to other food and wine festivals and think it is just a great community activity that brings everyone together for something most people love."
Weeks said the event would be held in the parking lot of Lagerheads and Roberts Grocery on Oct. 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. With representatives from Wrightsville Beach restaurants scattered around the parking lots offering signature dishes, a community oyster table and a beverage sampling station in the Lagerheads parking lot, Weeks and Andrews hope to draw visitors familiar to the community as well as newcomers. However, the event will not be all fun and games for the participating restaurants, as they will compete for various awards in culinary achievement that will be picked by a panel of celebrity judges.
"I just think this is something exciting that I hope will become a tradition to celebrate the fantastic food and restaurants we have in our community," Weeks said. "Hopefully, this will spotlight it and get more people down to our restaurants and our hotels."
Adding that the event will coincide with the Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee’s emphasis on stimulating tourism activity in the shoulder seasons, Weeks said she is hoping for 500 visitors for the inaugural year, but that the number will probably be closer to 300. The amount of tickets available will be capped and prices for the event are still being determined, but Weeks said it would be around $30 per person for the all-inclusive experience. The proceeds raised by this year’s event will be used for beautification projects in the downtown area like the resurfacing of the sidewalks.
Parking space for patrons is also being discussed. Weeks said she hopes to be able to use the parking lots at Wrightsville United Methodist Church and Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church.
The event is co-sponsored by the parks and recreation foundation, the Wrightsville Beach Merchants Association and the Wrightsville Beach Chamber of Commerce. For sponsorship and general information, phone Lisa Weeks at 910-262-5998. For restaurant participation, contact John Andrews at 910-620-3054.