If it’s fall in Florida, it’s time for the annual Taste of the Fun Coast.

Samples range from hearty dishes to light, seasonal tastings delivered by area restaurants across the 386 area code.

Basking in the warm weather and ocean breeze at the Hammock Beach Resort, guests enjoyed samples of sorbets and specialty ice creams, dainty mini pumpkin cupcakes, individual charcuterie bites, crispy conch fritters, savory barbecue, and shrimp macaroni and cheese, just to name a few.

“This was our first time and we were definitely impressed with the turnout,” said gourmet ice cream shop co-owner Shayla Gerling.

“We had a good amount of people who had never heard or nor knew where Surfside Shakes was so it was great to be able to put our name and product in front of new customers. We had lots of positive feedback which was very encouraging,” she said.

Created as a fundraiser several years ago to support the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Hospital, Flagler Broadcasting’s President and CEO David Ayres said the event has become one of the regional social events of the season.

“It all started with a conversation with Sara Hale of Coastal Cloud about how the sea turtle hospital was one of her favorite causes and charities and so we came up with the idea of the sip and sample,” said Ayres.

“A lot of people don’t know that 3-8-6 spells F-U-N, so that’s why we call it the Taste of the Fun Coast. So a lot of the local restaurants and different breweries like to come out, show off, network, pick up new customers and see their old friends,” he said.

“It’s just a fun afternoon, a happy hour seeing friends you haven’t seen in a long time, right on the ocean. It’s thanks to all of our sponsors that make it possible and Hammock Beach, who has been a partner since the beginning.”

Placing representatives from the sea turtle hospital close to the check in provided high visibility for sea turtle program manager Cat Eastman and her team, offering a chance to engage with guests first and foremost. On her wish list is funding for the staff which has worked tirelessly to rehabilitate and release the increased number of sea turtles they’ve seen at the coastal facility.

“We’re just so excited to be at the Taste of the Fun Coast. This is a super opportunity for us to talk all about and showcase what it is we do, the research and treating of sick and injured turtles as well as the financial contribution that happens from the Taste of the Fun Coast. We really appreciate the community,” said Eastman.

Serving as the event coordinator, Flagler Broadcasting Director of Sales Kirk Keller mixed and mingled with guests, from elected officials to resort members, ensuring everything was running smoothly and providing the high quality experience the Taste of the Fun Coast has become known for.

“It’s a major undertaking but as you can see we have 18 restaurants here offering samples and several different breweries and distilleries here offering samples of their beverages, so it makes for a fun night,” said Keller.