Food & Country Festival Bringing the Wild West to South Dade

While techno beats and Cuban food might seem more South Florida-style than twangy tunes and barbecue -- we can all use a return to those country roots every now and then. Hence the idea behind the South Dade Food and Country Festival, bringing homegrown good times and good eats to Homestead this Saturday.

Launched by Florida Rock Stars,a local entertainment network, a percentage of proceeds from this family-friendly food, drink and music fest will go to help support three animal welfare organizations: This Is the Dog, Chain of Love Abandoned Dogs and My Animals Rock.

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And it wouldn't be a country festival without some serious grubbing. The food part of the lineup is extensive indeed. Joe's Stone Crab and Big Pig BBQ are heading up the food festivities, with the help of the Key Largo Fishery, Sunshine Cakes, Bangkok Cuisine and a number of other vendors.

Liquid refreshments will include Grey Goose, Bacardi, Jack Daniels, Crown Royal, Beefeater, Patron, Dom Perignon, assorted beers and Kendall Jackson Chardonnay and Black Stone Merlot -- at prices that'll make folks used to South Beach mighty happy. Mixed drinks and wine are $5 and beer is $4. A steal.

"A fabulous upscale festival environment, great music and food equals good times," says Mickey Filippucci of Florida Rock Stars. "There aren't a whole lot of country shows in this area, so we figured there's a demand that's just sitting out there and no supply so we went with it. We're having great success with advance ticket sales, we expect over 1,000 people there."

And on that note - they're bringing all kinds of country music, as you might imagine. The headliner is Great American Country (GAC) star search's award-winning One Night Rodeo.

In addition, the show features the 13-year-old Homestead-born Jade Sanders as well as Cecilia Lauren and the Ocoee River Band.

"One Night Rodeo won the Greater American Country award this year. They are flying in from Las Vegas to do the show. Jade Sanders is originally from Homestead and is hugely successful already at her young age. Cecilia Lauren's guitar players used to play with Charlie Daniels Band and Marshall Tucker Band," Filippucci says of the music selection.

To help raise additional funds for the furry beneficiaries, $5 raffle tickets will be sold for the chance to win a $2,500 diamond bracelet.

"When people attend one of these events, they're kind of surprised. We bring in plants and everything. We have over 50 businesses that get promoted at these shows. It's a community event, we connect the community together," Filippucci adds.

Advance tickets to the festival are $15, and are also available at the Lumo Print store in Homestead. Tickets are $20 at the gate. Reserved VIP tables (which include eight tickets) are available for $200. The festival runs from 4 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, October 27 at Harris Field Pavilion. Call 305-951-3156 or visit www.floridarockstars.com/listing/2012-south-dade-food-and-country-festival

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