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TASTE of St Augustine Celebrates 20 Year

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The EPIC crew and volunteers enjoy the morning at the St Augustine Amphitheatre. photo: 2016

It is TASTE time again on the island, as thousands crowded the Amphitheater once again for the 20th annual TASTE of St Augustine. With close to 30 local restaurants sharing their signature dishes, this years event gave locals a reason to try the dishes and experience the talents of local chefs.

The long lines started at noon as traffic backed up to the St Rd 312 down A1A. Everyone was headed to the TASTA of St Aug, to enjoy some music, a tasty lunch and the chance to vote on their favorite TASTE.
The Taste is a fundraiser for EPIC Behavior Healthcare. Celebrating it’s 20th year, The TASTE of St Augustine is one of the main fund-raising events EPIC holds each year, ensuring that EPIC doesn’t have to turn anyone away from lack of the ability to pay.

“We treat anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 people a year,” said EPIC CEO, Patty Greenough, as she looked over the crowd. “Our focus is on prevention, education, mental health and substance abuse.”

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EPIC Board President, Jim Hays, spends Saturday at the TASTE of St Augustine. photo: 2016

EPIC, which stands for: Education, Prevention,Intervention and Counseling has been serving this community since 1973, providing mental health and substance abuse treatment to thousands. A new local 16 bed recovery center is opened on US1, for those battling substance abuse. EPIC Recovery Center has a team of professionals to help the individual attain stable, long-term sobriety and provide the tools needed to lead a productive life.

“Substance abuse issues is one of the most important issues in this community,” said EPIC Board President, Jim Hays. “The services we provide help reduce the strain on the court system as well as the ER (emergency room).”

Hays, a realtor with Sunshine Realty has been the EPIC Board President for four years. “We provide education to all ages, from children to adults,” shared Hays as he handed out ballots for the People’s Choice Award.

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Trish Robart with son Harry traveled all the way from Port Orange to enjoy the race. photo: 2016

Along with the TASTE, this is the seventh year EPIC has held the “Race to the TASTE – 5K”. Over 300 runners, of all ages, were on hand to run through the state park and enjoy the morning before lunch.

The Robart family came all the way from Port Orange to participate. “We love to run as a family,” shared Trish Robart, as she waited for the rest of her family to complete the course. “We plan to run one 5K a month all year. It is a great thing to do as a family.”

Ten year old Harry Robart waited on the wall with his mom. “I like to run. I feel really good when I am finished and I like to run with my family,” he continued as he scanned the finish line for his dad.

Another youngster to run the race was RB Hunt student, Issiah Backman. This 12 year old runs at school during the weekly enrichment period. “It is fun and it gives me exercise,” Backman said. Beckman came in 9th place with a time of 21:23.

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12 year old, RB Hunt student, Issiah Backman came in 9th place. photo: 2016

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