Chris and Marie Jackson of Feather Sound enjoy some of the food at the Taste of IRB.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Legions of people jammed into Chic-A-Si Park in Indian Rocks Beach on Saturday, Nov. 3, for the annual Taste of IRB, and they weren’t disappointed.
Dieter and Dee Schmid of Largo were enjoying their first Taste of IRB with a taste of bratwurst.
“So far the food is great,” said Dieter Schmid. “We’ve been to a couple of other festivals here in Indian Rocks and they have been enjoyable so we thought we’d come here today.” His wife agreed.
“This is our first time and I love the music,” she said. “It is a nice setting, a good atmosphere and the weather is fantastic. We’ll be back for sure.”
Nearby Meredith Coen of St. Petersburg was looking over the menu at the Stephanos booth. “I came here because I have a friend who lives here and she invited me. I’m really enjoying this and the food is great,” she said.
The Taste of IRB is all about the food. More than 20 vendors, all from local restaurants, were selling everything from exotic seafood to basic desserts. In fact when one patron complained about the smoke coming from a vendor’s grill, one of the event organizers, Phil Wrobel, remarked: “This is a food event, they have to cook it and there is nothing we can do about it. In fact there is nothing we want to do about it.”
There is likely nothing organizers of the event, such as the Taste of IRB, like better than to hear people say they will be back next year. Chris and Marie Jackson of Feather Sound were loud in their praise of the event.
“This is the best beach town around here,” said Chris Jackson. “This is our first time but it sure won’t be our last. We will absolutely come back.” Marie Jackson couldn’t say enough about the food.
“Yummy, so far so good,” she said. “We come here every weekend, we love it here and today the weather is beautiful.”
The Taste of IRB is organized and hosted every year by the Homeowners Association. President Becky Griffin said this year’s event was going without a hitch despite a major change.
“Because the new museum expansion took space away from the park we got permission to close Second Street for the day,” she said. “It has given us much needed room but it wasn’t without its challenges. How do you drive a stake or a sign into the ground when you are operating on asphalt?” However, she admitted it wasn’t an insurmountable problem and they figured out a way around the issue. She wanted to pay tribute to the City Commission. “We’d never be able to do this without them,” she said.
Although many people who attended the event were there for the first time, there were many who wouldn’t miss it, year after year. The Robb Family of Seminole has been to every single Taste of IRB. Chris and Amy and their children Kayla, 4, and Cameron, 6, were lounging on a big blanket in front of the bandstand. The Taste of IRB is nothing new to them.
“We came here for the very first one six years ago,” said Amy.” It has become a tradition. We love it.” Husband Chris echoed her sentiments. “This is awesome. The free music, the people, everything. Believe me we will make it to number seven.”