Florida Festival of Flavor & Fire Coming to Polk County

By: Jessica Roberts

Lakeland to become the “Hot Sauce Capital of Florida” during June event.

The Lakeland Center will become the focus for thousands of food aficionados that prefer their food on the spicy side, with the addition of a new event this summer. The Florida Festival of Flavor and Fire is billed as “A Gourmet Food and Craft Event” and will feature hundreds of artisanal producers of hot sauce, salsa, marinades, rubs, dips and other flavorful sauces.

The inaugural Florida Festival of Flavor and Fire will be held at the Lakeland Center on June 11-12. Attendees will be able to not only sample, but also purchase, a wide variety of award-winning sauces, condiments and products while at the festival. The event will also provide the opportunity to speak directly to the producers of each product, pick up recipes and cooking tips, and learn more about how the sauces are made. The event will also feature a demonstration stage where chefs and hot sauce makers will teach attendees how to cook some signature dishes, using their flavorful products.

Vendors at the Festival are expected to come from across the United States and will showcase their products that will range from spicy sweet to XXX hot. While this is the first year that the Festival of Flavor and Fire will be held in the state, the show’s producer hopes that this will be a long standing annual event held here in Lakeland. Dana Romero, Chairman of The Louisiana Hot Sauce Exposition, Inc. is adding the Florida Festival to his already established and successful festivals in Texas and Louisiana. Both of those festivals draw more than 100 vendors each and attract thousands of attendees each year. The Louisiana Hot Sauce Expo is in its 16th year.

The market for hot sauce and fiery gourmet foods in the US is more than $1.3 billion, according to IBIS World Industry Reports, and in the state of Florida alone there are more than 40 artisanal producers of hot sauce, dips, salsa and flavorful products. Initial response and vendor signups for the event at the Lakeland Center have been good, and exhibit space will sell out quickly.

Show hours for the Florida Festival of Flavor & Fire are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 11 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. p.m. on Sunday, June 12. Tickets are $15 per person, Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets for the Florida Festival of Flavor & Fire will go on sale in early May and will be available at the Lakeland Center Box Office or online at www.TheLakelandCenter.com.

Vendors interested in exhibiting should contact:

Dana Romero
Louisiana Hot Sauce Exposition, Inc
5000 Freetown Road
New Iberia, LA 70560


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