It's no secret that I love the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. That weekend is my Super Bowl, a time when I can revel in all things food and wine and cocktails.
I happily traipse around the sand during the day, swirling wine while the sun burns my nose. At night, I wander the "tents" in the most sensible shoes I can muster, sampling burgers and Champagne until the wee hours. And, although (in full disclosure), I now obtain media passes, I recall a time when I paid good hard-earned cash for a day at the festival. For a day (or evening) of food, drink, and frolicking, a few hundred bucks seems like a fair deal. After all, Disney World costs about the same and you still have to pay for those giant turkey legs and Mickey-shaped waffles once you're in the park (and try getting a cocktail at Magic Kingdom).
The price of a ticket to the Grand Tasting Village (or Epcot, for that matter) is usually what the market will bear. Which is why it's going to be interesting to see how many people take advantage of Groupon's "EPIC Trip for Two to Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival".
The "deal" offers a festival weekend experience, including three nights at the Lowes Miami Beach Hotel, invites to the chef kick-off party on Thursday night and the chef after party on Friday night, reserved seating at all the Grand Tasting Village demos, a meet-and-greet with Morimoto (and a chance to sing karaoke with the chef) at the Mix It Up with Morimoto event, and a pair of VIP badges, allowing access to all of the signature events including Burger Bash and all three days of the GTV.
What's the price of this fantasy vacation? A mere $3,500 for two ($5,000 with round-trip airfare). Insanely priced? Maybe not. Purchase these tickets a la carte and you'll pay well over $1,000 for each person in your party. Plus, a double room at the Loews is $629 per night, according to their website.
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The question I'm posing is what kind of superhuman Rachael Ray-loving, Anthony Bourdain-stalking, Food Network-watching superfan has the stamina to go to every one of these events? It's like running the Badwater Ultramarathon, the famed 135-mile footrace that has people running through the desert for three days...in July. Only this epic ultramarathon involves eating ribs and drinking booze.
So far, one person is going for it. There are ten days left to purchase this package -- and just about a month to train your liver to take four days of abuse. Training starts now.