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19th Annual TASTE of St Augustine and Race to the TASTE 5K

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Best Upscale TASTE – Villagio at the Renaissance Hotel

It was a delicious day on Saturday, as thousands enjoyed a TASTE of St Augustine at the St Augustine Amphitheater. Borland-Groover Clinic, a main sponsor of the event was there making people aware of their health. “We like to get colon cancer awareness out there while supporting such a great cause,” said Jennifer Hiley, Executive Assistant for Borland-Groover Clinic.

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The Borland-Groover Team

The weather was perfect for this premier outdoor food festival. Music and local beer and wine was available to sample and with over 30 restaurants participating, there was a dish for every taste to enjoy. From the upscale steak sandwich with a hint of arugula and scrumptious sauce from Villagio at The Renaissance Hotel at World Golf Village, which won Grand prize for “Best Upscale Taste,” to thousands of yummy cupcakes from LuLi’s Cupcakes being gobbled up to curb that after lunch sweet tooth, the day could not have been any better.

This 19 Annual event is held as a fundraiser for EPIC Community Services. It is the mission of EPIC Community Services “To strengthen our community by assisting individuals and families impacted by drugs and alcohol, mental health disorders and related problem behaviors through a comprehensive system of Education, Prevention, Intervention and Counseling.” Located on Old Dixie Hwy, EPIC has been serving the community since 1973. With the TASTE Event being one of their largest fundraisers for the agency, EPIC has been able to provide substance abuse and mental health prevention and treatment including the new 16 bed recovery center.

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Black & Blue Grill hold up their award!

The People’s Choice Award went to our own South Beach Grill with their serving of their crispy grilled shrimp taco’s. Other favorites were tacos from the Alligator Farms, Toucantina Snack Bar and stuffed mushrooms and chicken wings from Black and Blue Grill. “We claim the best wings in all of St Augustine,” said Matthew Ingrao as he showed off his award for the “Best Family Restaurant.”

Along with the “Taste of St Augustine” a “Race To The Taste 5K” run was held with participants taking a late morning run through Anastasia State Park. People of all ages took to the road. Forty-four year old John Webb of St Augustine was the first place finisher with a time of 18:06. “I like to do anything for a good cause.” said Webb wiping the sweat from his brow. “I was hoping to run faster.” he said, “But it was just too hot today!”

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John Webb First Place Winner

“This was a good course and a good cause.” said Larry Porter from Jacksonville.“The sand on the road was a little difficult to get through.” he explained. When asked about EPIC Porter said, “We have similar agencies back home,” he continued. Porter was the lone 5K participant in a wheelchair. He shared his story of being in a car accident in 2001 while driving in Illinois on icy roads. “I ran before the accident,” he said. “I wasn’t gonna let that stop me. I usually do marathons.” On Saturday morning, as Porter came across the finish line the cheers from the crowd proved he was an inspiration to every person at the race.

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Larry Porter from Jacksonville

With the thousands in attendance on Saturday and the tens of thousands who have used the services of EPIC these last 40 years, The TASTE of St Augustine is about more than just food. It is a community getting together to support a much loved and needed agency. Happy 19th Taste of St Augustine and thanks Patty Greenough and the staff and volunteers at EPIC Community Services for keeping us “in the race!”