Published: Apr 24, 2014 7:32 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 24, 2014 9:53 AM EDT

NAPLES, Fla. – As the 31st Taste of Collier approaches, organizers are noting a significant uptick in the number of new restaurants signing up to participate in the event.

“We have been overwhelmed by this year’s response not only from the group of restaurants that always participate, but from new restaurants as well,” said Tiffany McQuaid, owner of McQuaid Marketing & Promotions, whose company is managing the event this year.

Since 1983, Ray and June Singer, a Board of Directors, along with several past members of the Collier County Restaurant Association and community volunteers have hosted 30+ restaurants annually for food samplings, cooking competitions, ice carving demonstrations, live music, children’s activities and more. It is the longest-running event of its kind in the area and last year’s event alone drew approximately 6,000 people.

This year, the Singers and their Board decided it was time to pass the torch and bring in another organization to plan and execute the 2014 event. And they are thrilled with the results thus far.

“I have to admit, we were nervous handing over the reins. And signing up restaurants is one of the biggest components to the event’s success. I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled we are to see participation up and the addition of 15 new restaurants and counting,” said Ray Singer.

The annual Taste of Collier festival will be held on Sunday, April 27, 2014, from 11am to 4pm at Bayfront in Naples. For more information about participation or sponsorships, please call 239.331.7371 or visit www.tasteofcollier.com.