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FORT MYERS, Fla. (September 14, 2020) – Special Equestrians’ 17th annual culinary extravaganza, Taste of Love raised $190,000 for the therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving program.  Due to COVID-19 concerns, the event was held virtually online.   Ticket holders picked up food and wine at The Ranch Concert Hall & Saloon prior to the event so they could enjoy it while watching the broadcast from home.  Harmon’s Audio Visual provided the video production for Taste of Love.
All proceeds from Taste of Love benefit Special Equestrians, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities by providing a structured therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving program and other equine assisted activities.  Special Equestrians has been awarded Premier Accredited Center status by PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). Serving Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties, Special Equestrians is a United Way Partner Agency that has been serving southwest Florida for more than 30 years.
The event was hosted by celebrity auctioneer Jay Severson and emceed by award-winning radio and television personality Gina Birch, and featured live and silent auction items.
“We are so appreciative of our patrons, sponsors, auction donors, volunteers, committee members and the staff at The Ranch Concert Hall and Saloon,” said Adele Smith, event co-chair. “Our culinary participants provided wonderful food and we served 300 To Go bags to our guests.  Everyone was able to watch the livestream of the event while enjoying their delicious food and wine from the comfort and safety of their homes.”
Culinary participants:

  • Mastello and A Touch of Italy, Chef Carlo Rao
  • Blue Pointe Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill, Chef Andy Brown
  • Fancy’s Southern Café, Chef Daniel Glick
  • Cantina Laredo, Chef Martin Galvan
  • Señor Pepe’s Paella Catering, Chef Pepe
  • Jordan Webster Catering, Chef Jordan Webster
  • European American Bakery Café, Chef Ariel Garcia and Chef Sam Savich
  • The Melting Pot, Chef Chris Keys
  • Custom C.A.K.E.S. by Kayla, Kayla Mateo
  • Greg’s Buckeyes, Greg Kurt
  • Le Macaron French Pastries, Florence Del Fondo
  • Wine presented by Breakthru Beverage Group
  • Beer Provided by Suncoast Beverage Company

Event Sponsors include:  Karon Rathgeber – Wells Fargo Advisors, Garden Street Iron & Metal, John S. Fifer, M.D., Seminole Casino, Mark Loren Designs and Frey Valet.  Platinum Sponsors: Architectural Metals of SW Florida, Everglades Farm Equipment, Henderson Franklin, Lovelace Farms, MVP Realty/Lee and Marie Kitsberg, Sarlo Mowers, The Dorcey Law Firm, The LaPorta Family, UBS Maurillo Rhoades Group, Sweet Cypress Ranch, and Waterside Aesthetic Dentistry.  Gold Sponsors:  Club Care, C-2-C Landscaping and Riverdale Dental Associates/Gateway Dental Suites  Silver Sponsor:  Cummings Law  Bronze Sponsors:  Bechtol Chiropractic & Wellness Center, Dave & Cheryl Copham, Edison National Bank, Green Schoenfeld & Kyle, LLP, Hair by Chris, ISEC Incorporated, Jason’s Deli, Lawhon’s Grocery, Lee Dental Care, Moon Plumbing, Northern Contracting, Pulte Group, Taylor Carpet One, Toll Law, Vein Specialists – Dr. Magnant.  Media Sponsors include The News-Press, Florida Country Magazine, Florida Weekly, Palm Printing and Signs Now.  Restaurants who were bronze sponsors include: Cantina Laredo, European/American Bakery Café, Mastello Ristorante, and Fancy’s Southern Café.
Taste of Love 2021 is scheduled for March 14, 2021.
For more information about Special Equestrians visit

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