1.Tell us about yourself and how you got into the event industry.
I’ve always been interested in technology which led me to a career with IBM for seven years. In 1988 I took a buyout from IBM and launched an advertising agency in downtown Delray Beach. I fell in love with the city and immersed myself in anything and everything I could to get involved with the city of Delray Beach. Revitalizing downtown Delray Beach was and still is the focal point of my interest. It began with Art & Jazz on the Ave which put in motion my career change to event production. With my agency background and being headquartered on the Avenue I got asked to design many of the collateral materials needed to promote these events. Long story short – I found my passion of event production.
- We heard that Garlic Fest, one of your signature events, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Tell us about how you started the event and how it has grown.
It all started with a trip to the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. My team and I were taken back by this event and were lucky enough to take a page out of their book by being trained by their founders in all things “Garlic”. Our goal of bringing Garlic Fest to South Florida was to establish a similar form of fund-raising sources for local non-profit organizations.
Garlic Fest started out as a small festival in a city parking lot in downtown Delray Beach over twenty years ago. Within five years the event had gained attendance of 20,000+ and was booking major national music acts! Around that time, The Garlic Fest was nicknamed “The Best Stinkin’ Party in South Town”. Growing bigger every year, we were blessed to appear on the Cooking Channel’s hit show, “Carnival Eats” and the Food Networks “Unwrapped” show.
- What is on tap for the 20th year of Garlic Fest? Can you divulge any special experiences?
To celebrate our 20th Anniversary we’re bringing new attractions like the Funky Buddah Beer Garden where attendees will be able to kick-up their feet and sip funky brews, with new releases rotating every hour. We’re also introducing Artists Row which will showcase Palm Beach counties local community of artists in a variety of interactive exhibits. With The Mighty Mighty Bosstones headlining Saturday night, it’s sure to be our biggest Garlic Fest yet!
- What other events do you have on tap for 2019?
The Delray Beach Wine & Seafood Festival returns to Downtown Delray Beach and Old School Square with a diverse menu of delicious seafood and delectable wine on March 9th and 10th.
The Wellington Bacon & Bourbon Festival returns on March 22nd and 23rd. This free festival shines a loving light on our most flavorful food…Bacon, and the quintessential American liquor, Bourbon.
At the heart of all of our festivals is our commitment to create fun-filled food lover community events featuring unique food and beverages. We strive to ensure that our sponsors are richly rewarded for their investment in our events and our community. Our events strong commitment to the community is that they are designed as a fund-raising opportunity for non-profit organizations. Our non-profit organization has contributed over $670,000 back to our community volunteer partners.
- If you could put on any event what would it be?
I would love to produce a music festival based on the “Best of” Garlic Fest performers. We’ve brought many national music acts to South Florida, including; Buddy Guy, Stephen Marley, Michael Franti, Hoobastank, Alan Parsons Project, Dispatch, Rebelution, Dark Star Orchestra, Collective Soul, Sister Hazel and Trombone Shorty to name a few. We would love to celebrate with a “Best of” Garlic Fest reunion show.