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Central Tampa News

Flavor event set to add spice to West Tampa once again

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Published:   |   Updated: November 1, 2013 at 09:36 AM

WEST TAMPA — The Fourth Annual Flavor of West Tampa will put the spotlight on the neighborhood’s cultural diversity, history, music and food.

On Nov. 9 more than 20 local restaurants will serve dishes from a banquet of cuisines from Colombia, Italy, Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Holy Hog, La Teresita, Mr. Empanada and Cacciatore and Sons Italian Market & Deli are among participating eateries.

Entry to the festival is free. A portion of proceeds from food sales will benefit the nonprofit Judeo Christian Health Clinic, which provides free health care to low-income people with no insurance.

The West Tampa Chamber of Commerce started the Flavor in 2010 as a fund-raiser for the clinic. It helps bring awareness about what the clinic does, said Leo Alvarez, communications and marketing chairman for the chamber.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn will kick-off the festival. Tampa Bay Rough Riders Color Guard will honor military veterans with a flag presentation.

Veteran’s Day falls on Nov. 11, the Monday after the West Tampa festival.

The family-friendly event will offer plenty of children’s activities including finger-painting, carnival games and prizes.

Entertainment at the festival includes a “musical theater” performance by students at Blake High School, the Columbia Restaurant flamenco dancers, the Frank Rey Show dancers, an exhibition of salsa dancing, the Buster Castellano Band and Belinda Womack.

This year’s event sponsors include Jerry Ulm Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, WalMart and The Tampa Tribune.

Master of ceremony duties will be shared by the Andrew Arena Family Entertainers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneer cheerleaders and the Buccaneers’ pirate ship will be there. Tampa Bay Rays will have a batting cage. The city’s firefighters, canine team and bomb squad also will participate. And the Humane Society of Tampa Bay will have a “puppy corral.”

A business expo will offer booths and displays.

Last year’s event drew between 1,200 and 1,500 people and provided the Judeo Christian clinic with about $17,000.

The clinic receives no government aid but relies on donations and grants, said Kelly Bell, the clinic’s executive director.

Doctors, nurses and other health care providers volunteer at the clinic providing medical, dental and vision care as well as free prescription drugs. Nearly 40,000 people received health care at the clinic last year.

“Events like this are very important to our bottom line,” said Bell.

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