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Taste of Pinellas Canceled for 2013

The 26th annual food and music festival is canceled until further notice.

Citing declining attendance and increasing expenses, All Children's Hospital and event organizers announced Friday that a Taste of Pinellas is officially on hiatus.

For the last 26 years, the food and music festival dedicated to raising money for All Children's Hospital is taking break. According to event organizers, the event is canceled for 2013 to "retool the event for future success." 

“While A Taste of Pinellas has enjoyed great success, we have also experienced a decline in overall attendance and an increase in expenses to run this three-day event,” said Cindy Rose, ACH Vice President of Marketing in a news release. “Today, there are many more community events and entertainment venues competing for the public’s time and money. We felt it was a good time to take a strategic look at all facets of the event to see if we can make it better for the future.”

In 2012, a Taste of Pinellas featured nationally recognized musical acts such as Big & Rich, All-American Rejects, Dashboard Confessional, Sheryl Crow and Ziggy Marley. 

According to a statement released Friday from the hospital, the break will "afford the opportunity to concentrate on how best to ensure that Taste is an event that everyone in the Bay Area wants to attend – so that it ultimately can continue to support the work of All Children’s Hospital.

"During the next year, the hospital will work with community and restaurant partners to develop a plan for a new “Taste” or a similar type of event that the community will enjoy. The goal is to have an event that brings people together to have a good time and celebrate the difference All Children’s makes to the lives of our community’s children."

Donald H November 17, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Sorry but that weak, pallid excuse just does not wash...! It is an awesome event but the "powers-that-be" obviously think that they can gouge more $$$ out of a citizenry-base that is strapped by the economic condition nof the nation. Too bad...it was great event...!
Dharma November 17, 2012 at 02:54 PM
donald i agree its just the end of something that was fun and brought people together.. maybe something less fincally involved with become in its place..
Dharma November 17, 2012 at 02:55 PM
also moving it away from straub park to the venoy park i think i made a big difference.. when just the music was held in venoy and the rest as well as other music was in straub people had so much to enjoy..
cherylwithac November 17, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I think that they're going to retool it so that it's extremely expensive and accessible only to those who can easily spend $500 or so in an exclusive club-type atmosphere for a "Taste of Pinellas." Why invite the riff-raff when Children's can make much more money by making it available only for those with big money to spend?
Bill H. November 17, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Moving the event to Venoy Park where you have to stand and eat in an uncovered area when it's already hot in May, yes even at night, is why we stopped coming. Yes, there are enough other such events where we can feel comfortable.
Amy Dinovo November 19, 2012 at 12:16 PM
The move to Vinoy Park was indeed the beginning of the decline. But in the early days, what made the event special was the mix of restaurants and the presence of restaurants that many of us could only think about going to for very special occasions. It morphed from a Taste of Pinellas, to a Pinellas chain restaurant fair. I'd pay to go to an event that was just locally owned and operated independent restaurants instead of a concert sponsored by Subway and Pizza Hut. The use of the stage in Straub Park helped insure that the focus was on restaurants instead of the bands. You wanna have a concert, fine, but get back to what makes "A Taste of Pinellas" and focus on ways to present the best food Pinellas has to offer. For the smaller Mom and Pops where they can't afford to take a weekend off out of their restaurants, perhaps get other local businesses to "sponsor" their presence. I'm glad they took some time off to retool. Hopefully it will come back better than ever.
MirrorLakeMan November 20, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Greed killed the Taste of Pinellas! Why is everyone acting like the ever higher cover charges and the increased individual food tix had nothing to do with it? Make the event free admission again, and make the food pricing so cheap that everyone eats plenty and has a good time. And include the good bands like B-52s and the fireworks, too. Don't act like there's not enough money in the budget. The city gives away millions in incentives to big corporations like Walmart, Progress Energy, Home Depot, the Rays,...and yet, complains that there isn't enough money to support a cool local community restaurant event. "Taste" isn't supposed to reap millions of dollars in profits. It's a promotional to get people to try your food. Stop gouging the citizens! Promoters will just have to deal with their 7 bedroom homes instead of the 12 bedroom home upgrade they expect the citizens to pay for.
Doc Webb's Bay Post November 20, 2012 at 01:29 PM
For me Taste of Pinellas was generally tasteless. I never was a big fan of taste of Pinellas. It always seemed to me the primary goal was exploiting the people who attended. The event was usually poorly planned and not particularly well organized. In the beginning a great place for a new restaurant to get some exposure, but in the end just not enough bang for the buck to keep the crowds coming in. Hanging a charity on the backend of these events is supposed to make you feel better about paying to get in and paying through the nose for small samples of local food. That ruse has pretty well worn out. Scheduling was always and issue, primarily holding the headline act to late Sunday I always found irritating. Obviously they wanted to keep you in there spending as long as possible. Let's hope the "retooling" takes some of this into consideration.
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bob cabino April 08, 2013 at 05:00 PM
after reading all the above blogs, I simply have to say that I have enjoyed the Taste for the last 15 years of so that I have attended and never saw anything that was negative. liked when it was free but never understood how they could put on an event like this for free..for me, paying up to $15-20 is worth a full day of music, sun and fun, not to mention the food. my biggest issue is parking which is always a prob with any events held downtown, but you deal with it..The Clearwater Jazz Fest charged this past year for the first time and no one that I saw had a problem with it...lets hope the powers to be put this event back together again
Babak April 08, 2013 at 05:08 PM
"For me Taste of Pinellas was generally tasteless." Much like a pathetic attempt at humor. My third grader can think of a more clever opener.
Shirl A. Hannigan November 14, 2013 at 01:24 PM
I loved the Taste of Pinellas back when it was a Strub Park, when it went to Vinoy, the people that were in charge in which I knew some of them cause my husband at the time had a booth, they were never happy, always wanting more money and it was supposed to be for the people to come in and listen to the music, buy some samples of food and go to a good cause. All the vendors work for free and come out and use their time off work to work in the hot, long days for a good cause and help raise money and taking money out of their pockets to promote their food. Unless you help work with those vendors, you wouldn't know this, so all the money that's raised does not go toward the children, a big part goes to the guy who was putting it together and all his staff and then the band gets their share and they also came around to all the tents and made us give bottles of wine, food, etc out of our stash for the bands. The bands had free food and wine, etc. from the vendors and they got nothing. So, yea, the event was canceled due to attendance because of gouging the people for more money for the admission and smaller size samples and learning like me that the money was not all going towards the children. A lot of the vendors started pulling out because they were sick of the way it was run and nothing but hard work for them and it was not helping them get noticed and it wasn't fun to do, anymore when they saw how the money was being used.

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