People will be gathering on the sand on South Beach this year in May instead of February for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival®, run with the help of thousands of FIU students.
"Due to growing concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the well-being of attendees, partners, participants and staff as the number one priority, SOBEWFF has decided that rescheduling the event is the most responsible course of action at this time. We know it is the right thing to do," event organizers said in a statement.
So, mark your calendars. The new dates are May 20-23, 2021. More than 50 events are planned and most of them will look different this year. For example, the Burger Bash, which usually welcomes about 4,000 people will be split into two sessions with 1,000 people max per session.
All of the events will follow health and safety protocols, including social distancing and mandatory mask requirements. Pushing the event back to May also allows more time for medical personnel to administer a vaccine throughout the general population.
"The Festival is such a wonderful opportunity for all FIU students to participate and gain hands-on experience at one of the most recognized and respected wine and food events in the world," said Michael Cheng, dean of the Chaplin School.
The plan is to have students help again this year. More than 1,200 FIU students usually participate in more than 3,000 shifts taking on jobs such as volunteer coordination, event coordination, food prep, inventory control and guest experience. Interested students should sign up for the mailing list for the latest updates on the SOBEWFF website.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event. It started as a one-day festival called the Florida Extravaganza on the Biscayne Bay campus in 1997. Since then, it has grown to a five-day, world-renowned event.
FIU benefits in one other big way. To date, the Festival has raised more than $31.8 million for the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.