Cheers to 21 Years: How SOBEWFF Celebrated With Boozy Bashes, Fieri’s Fiesta and Innovative Activations
A toast to the 21st annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) presented by Capital One was in full effect in South Florida from Feb. 24-27 this year. In fact, 50,000 attendees flocked to the sands of South Beach–and beyond–to raise funds for the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
As luck would have it, festival director Lee Schrager and his team built their signature tented venues–and ballroom blueprints, back this year after a 2021 hiatus–just as the COVID-19 Omicron surge was on its way out. (Numbers were down 90 percent the week of the festival.) “We kept hoping that time would be on our side,” said Schrager. “Comfort remained our top priority, and if we could not produce a festival in the way we felt most comfortable, we wouldn’t have done it.”
A Warm Welcome Back
After limited programming in 2021, host hotel Loews Miami Beach was thrilled to welcome not only two of Fieri’s fiestas, but several other events back to its HQ. The new Asian Night Market (Thursday), along with two returning Sunday indulgences (Southern Kitchen Brunch hosted by Trisha Yearwood and the kid-friendly Family Ice Cream Social) brought a steady flow of visitors to the sold-out, 790-room luxury hotel all weekend.
“Our team was ecstatic,” said Mutluhan Kucuk, complex managing director of Loews Hotels & Co. “Going full throttle meant there was a sense of normalcy again. It meant our team members could go back to creating memorable events for our guests, which is what we love to do most of all.”
However, the hotel didn’t stop there. Each day, there were special activations to ensure the full foot traffic could enjoy a taste. Daily curated lobby amenities–like toasted sesame matcha madeleines, maple bacon macrons and brookie tarts–as well as on-site menu specials—extended the hotel’s partnerships and direct connectivity to the festival.
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