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Fort Myers food fest fun

It was a foodie’s dream this past weekend all over Fort Myers with three different Food Festivals going on, on March 11 and March 12.

Saturday’s food festivities kicked off at the Lee Civic Center for Fort Myers’ Beer and Bacon Festival.

The event featured tons of creative “bacon-centric” dishes like bacon-wrapped meatballs, bacon cupcakes and traditional crispy bacon around every corner.

If you were of legal age, there were over 80 kinds of craft beers to sample, including local beers from Fort Myers Brewing Company and brews from all over Florida ranging from places like St. Petersburg, Punta Gorda and the Florida Keys.

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But if beers and bacon weren’t your interest, and you somehow still ended up at the festival, there were music, games and prizes for people to enjoy, while all benefits went to the Lee Civic Center, a destination for fun events in Southwest Florida.

On March 11, the Fort Myers Beach Lions Club Shrimp Festival celebrated its 59th anniversary, making it a long-standing tradition on Fort Myers Beach.

Though the event was on the 11 and 12, it kicked off the week before on March 4, with its Lion’s Kids Shrimp Run, where kids ran a mile on the beach in an event sponsored by Cypress Lake High School Boosters.

Saturday, March 11, started with the 5k Shrimp Festival Run. This popular Southwest Florida race began at 9 a.m. and took runners on a scenic route over the Matanzas Bridge twice while onlookers cheered the runners along.

The next lively event was the Shrimp Parade, starting at 10 a.m. and traveling one and a half miles down Estero Boulevard.

The parade began on School Street and ended where the Shrimp Festival took place at the Matanzas Bridge near Lynn Hall Memorial Park.

Once people arrived at the Shrimp Festival, there was a flurry of activity, from the Shrimp Queen Crowning to the Shrimp Eating Contest to the immense amount of food, games, crafts and prizes, with shrimp on the menu everywhere you went.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a food festival weekend without a Taco Fest. On March 12, crowds enjoyed drinks, live entertainment and, of course, tacos at the 93X Taco Fest in Downtown Fort Myers’s Centennial Park.

They also were able to eat their tacos while making a difference, as all proceeds from the event went to Valerie’s House, an organization that helps children and families deal with grief.

Overall, the weekend was a classic Fort Myers mix of good food, community and fun that left festival-goers’ bellies full for the year until they return for the festival in 2018.

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