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Brickell Food & Wine Fest: Don Julio Cocktail Competition, Ceviche Sampling, Free Kids' Zone

If it were up to us, every weekend would entail a food and wine fest of some sort. After all, you can never have too much food/booze/revelry. So we're pretty stoked about the third annual Brickell Food & Wine Festival, hitting the Miami Circle this weekend.

The festival will feature sampling from more than30 area restaurants, cocktail competitions, chef demos, live music, and sweet rides (courtesy of Mercedes). Plus, there'll be plenty for the kids to do, so you can make merry with the whole fam.

See also:

- Taste of Brickell Food & Wine Festival: Get Half-Priced VIP Tickets

"We now have a second VIP experience location on the 15th floor of the Viceroy Hotel," says Cindy Bettner, the festival's producer and director. "It's the Fireplace Terrace, and that's from 12 to 6 p.m., so VIPs can go up there. We have Don Julio coming in to do a tequila recipe challenge. That's gonna take place on Sunday, and it's a big deal because they're bringing in all their people from New York. They're bringing in judges and five bartenders from all over the place."

Chefs from Peru will also arrive to do a sampling of various ceviches.

In addition, they'll have eats from restaurants such as Taverna Opa, the Oceanaire Seafood Room and lots of healthful options including Giardino's Gourmet Salads.

There's also a free zone for those without tickets. "Along the Icon's baywalk, which faces Brickell Key, we'll have exhibitors, arts and crafts, and other vendors, and it'll lead down to Brickell Park, where the free Kids' Zone is. So we have a free area where kids can play, the Miami Marlins will be down there, and games and all sorts of stuff for them," Lester says.

Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables will be on site to show off some of its newest models. Plus, live music by local bands, a Sunday afterparty at Fifty atop the Viceroy, and lots of other fun stuff.

Last year's event saw nearly 12,000 attendees, so plan your transportation in advance. Lester suggests taking the Metromover or planning a nearby garage spot in advance. "The closest Metro is the Eighth Street station. A free trolley drops people in front of the Viceroy Hotel, and some of the garages are offering a flat $5 to $10 rate for parking."

And if you miss out on VIP tickets (they're almost sold out), you can score a GA pass for $10 and simply buy drinks and food as you go. "Sample as much as you want," Lester says. "Samples range from $1 to $8, and they're generally very reasonable at $2, $3, $4. A lot of restaurants are trying to compete with each other, so they're trying to serve a big portion."

Check out the festival website for plenty of details.

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Hannah Sentenac covers veg food, drink, pop culture, travel, and animal advocacy issues. She is also editor-in-chief of
Contact: Hannah Sentenac