The Klein Center at the College of Central Florida was the lively scene for the 30th annual Taste of Ocala hosted by the CF Foundation. A social hour accompanied by live music was followed by culinary delights from local restaurants competing for the coveted Best of Taste award. Proceeds from this year’s event will go toward scholarships for students in CF’s equine and agribusiness studies programs.
The Best of Taste winner was Pasta Faire Italian Ristorante. Best of Taste Runner-Up was Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar. The People’s Choice award went to Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Steam Shack. This year, 11 restaurants participated in Taste of Ocala by serving up tapas-sized samplings of their best fare.
“The event was a huge success and created three new endowed scholarships for equine studies and agribusiness,” says Chris Knife, CF Foundation executive director. “Since its inception in 1989, Taste of Ocala has raised more than $1.46 million for College of Central Florida student scholarships.”
The 30th annual Taste of Ocala was the inaugural event for CF’s $20 million campaign dedicated to expand CF’s equine studies and agribusiness programs.
“I am pleased to share that to date we have raised $11.9 million toward our $20 million campaign goal,” says Dr. James Henningsen, College of Central Florida president. “This is the largest campaign the college has ever embarked on, and we look forward to working together with our partners and friends to make the Reaching Higher campaign a success for our students and our community.”
In 2016, CF was the recipient of its largest gift on record from the Vintage Farm family. The donation of the 103-acre Vintage Farm has enabled CF to expand the equine and agribusiness studies to include a bachelor’s degree in equine studies with a future goal of starting a one-year cattle management certificate program.
Currently, there are 70 students in the agribusiness degree studies and over 120 students in equine studies. Both degrees complement the lives of our area residents with students expertly trained to advance our unique industries. Programs such as these two guarantee that our home-grown young people do not migrate to distant cities but rather remain right here in Marion County.
To make your own much needed donation to future students call (352) 873-5808 or visit CF.edu/Foundation. Be sure to mark your calendars now for the 2019 Taste of Ocala which has become a real tradition among our citizens.