To really enjoy this weekend’s ‘Taste of Pinellas’, know the history of this great event

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Today, A Taste of Pinellas opens at the Vinoy Park, beginning at 5:00 p.m. While much has been publicized about the fabulous entertainment, including Sheryl Crow performing this Saturday, and the incredible food and restaurants represented, the bigger story is what this event is truly all about—supporting kids.

All Children’s Hospital launched the first Taste of Pinellas more than 25 years ago to coincide with its fundraising telethon that they hosted in Busch Gardens, Tampa. The reason for the event was two-fold. First, they wanted to have a strong presence in Pinellas County where All Children’s Hospital has its physical location, and second, they wanted to have something that people could participate in beyond just donating money.

Thus, A Taste of Pinellas was born as a modest event, featuring local entertainment and local food vendors and grew to be the sprawling venue that it is today, presenting national headlining talent and featuring food from restaurants across Tampa Bay.

A very big part of this most recent growth is thanks to Bill Edwards, the primary sponsor of A Taste of Pinellas.

“A Taste of Pinellas has been successful each year. Its purpose is to raise awareness and fundraise, and thanks to the major contributions of event sponsor Bill Edwards, it’s more successful at doing this each year,” said H. Roy Adams, public information officer of All Children’s Hospital.

A new development that attendees have noticed over the past few years is that the once free event now charges a fee—this year the fee is $20. Adams explained that since a primary purpose of the event is fundraising, the $20 fee helps defray the costs of infrastructure for an event that has been growing significantly over the years.

While Bill Edwards covers most of the costs associated with the headlining talent, additional expenses such as added security and sanitation have risen as the crowds and number of food vendors grew. To make sure that the event still raises funds for All Children’s Hospital, the small fee was necessary.

“Attending A Taste of Pinellas is just one way to help support All Children’s Hospital one time per year,” said Adams. “People can support the hospital in many ways throughout the year, and that doesn’t have to be a cash donation.”

One specific thing that Adams encourages is taking a tour of the hospital. Seeing first-hand the critical services that All Children’s Hospital provides to our community not only helps generate advocates for the hospital but goes a long way in raising awareness to help champion issues important to the children receiving care and their families. Group tours for churches and civic groups can be scheduled as well tours for individuals.

Other ways that people can support All Children’s Hospital are through myriad volunteer opportunities, monetary donations and donating needed items for the children who are patients such as toys for birthday gifts when kids are in the hospital on their birthdays.

Advocacy also is extremely important. Many people may not realize that All Children’s Hospital serves a significant amount of children covered by Medicaid. Legislators need to understand how modifications and proposed cuts to Medicaid affect kids and All Children’s Hospital.

You may learn more about All Children’s Hospital by visiting its website: www.allkids.org. But, a visit will speak far louder than words as to what a remarkable facility All Children’s Hospital is and to be able to meet many staff members dedicated to providing the best care possible, making children healthier and their futures brighter.

Via Daphne Taylor Street. You can reach Daphne at dts.streetmedia@gmail.com

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.