Staying connected: Hosting digital events during the coronavirus

Staying connected: Hosting digital events during the coronavirus

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020 — The novel coronavirus forced a global halt to major international, regional and local events. From the NBA season to networking conferences, all gatherings of any size stopped abruptly in an effort to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading further. However, as the population at large becomes accustomed to social distancing, stay at home orders and self quarantining, many events went from a hard stop to full speed ahead virtually. As the business community adjusts to the challenges of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, many institutions are building value and maintaining relationships with patrons by maximizing the use of webinars, online classes, video conferences and even virtual happy hours. 

Throughout the nation, residents, institutions, and businesses alike have been forced to adapt to social distancing. Virtually every educational institution has gone fully online in an effort to keep staff and students safe during the coronavirus pandemic. On the business front, major companies have pivoted to fully digital events for participants to enjoy. For example, technology giant, Google, recently decided to move its entire Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital event online. The event will be a free, global, digital-first, multiday event aiming to connect attendees to streamed keynotes, breakout and interactive learning sessions, among other activities. During the coronavirus, these types of initiatives will become the new normal until it becomes safe to resume traveling and large gatherings.

The video conference platform, Zoom, has quickly become ubiquitous across the virtual events space. Across economic sectors, different institutions are taking advantage of Zoom and similar platforms. To host a successful virtual event, event planners must decide between hosting a virtual meeting or a webinar. “If you expect attendees to mostly just listen,” the best option is a webinar, Zoom advises as part of its digital event best practices. “When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host,” planners should choose a virtual meeting, the platform advises. 

Once the type of digital event has been narrowed down, hosts should hardwire the internet connection to prevent any Wi-Fi-related hiccups or virtual lag. In terms of audio, hosts should test speakers and audio prior to the meeting and minimize any background noise, according to Zoom. Additionally, hosts should dress to impress and make sure to start the virtual event on time. It is important to set the tone of the event and encourage Q&A’s during the virtual meeting or webinar. As a best practice, Zoom recommends the use of the Chat function to keep track of questions and comments. For larger webinars, Zoom offers a PayPal integration to charge the registration fees seamlessly. 

For the time being, social distancing will be part of the mainstream business landscape until at least May. However, many institutions are adjusting and pivoting more and more to the virtual hosting model to build value, share information and regain a sense of community in a time where residents are being asked to self-isolate as much as possible.  

To learn more visit: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/04/best-practices-for-hosting-a-digital-event/

https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/google-cloud-next/join-us-for-google-cloud-next20-digital-connect

 

 

Staying connected: ‘Saturday Soiree’ in Palm Beach

Staying connected: ‘Saturday Soiree’ in Palm Beach

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020 — The novel coronavirus forced a global halt to major international, regional and local events. From the NBA season to networking conferences, all gatherings of any size stopped abruptly in an effort to flatten the curve and prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading further. However, as the population at large becomes accustomed to social distancing, stay at home orders and self quarantining, many events went from a hard stop to full speed ahead virtually. As the business community adjusts to the challenges of the disruption caused by the coronavirus, many institutions are building value and maintaining relationships with patrons by maximizing the use of webinars, online classes, video conferences and even virtual happy hours. 

In its “Staying Connected” series, Invest: is talking to leaders in various markets about their efforts to, well … stay connected.

In Palm Beach, a region known for its daily community outdoor events and weekend parties,  institutions have had to shift to online platforms to preserve the community feel and give people an escape from social distancing. The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority did just that by hosting a party with musicians online. “This past saturday, we hosted what was to have been an outdoor event called ‘the Saturday Soiree’ with musicians and we streamed it throughout social media and let each one of them have their set,” Executive Director Raphael Clemente told Invest: Palm Beach. “It was a big success and gave us ideas on how to keep Downtown top of mind,” he said. 

The authority is focusing on being a support system for residents and Downtown business leaders in this period of economic uncertainty. “We meet with a lot of stakeholders, and internally. I am loving Skype and Zoom. We have gone to these platforms as everyone else has. As a team, a big part of our conversation was how we can do our job of marketing and sharing information, but keeping top of mind the sensitivity of people right now to their business issues,” Clemente said. “It is not just what we are saying, but how we are saying it. Also, just picking up the phone, versus using only email, is an important thing to do.”

The video conference platform, Zoom, has quickly become ubiquitous across the virtual events space. Across economic sectors, different institutions are taking advantage of Zoom and similar platforms. To host a successful virtual event, event planners must decide between hosting a virtual meeting or a webinar. “If you expect attendees to mostly just listen,” the best option is a webinar, Zoom advises as part of its digital event best practices. “When you need more back and forth between the audience and the host,” planners should choose a virtual meeting, the platform advises. 

Once the type of digital event has been narrowed down, hosts should hardwire the internet connection to prevent any Wi-Fi-related hiccups or virtual lag. In terms of audio, hosts should test speakers and audio prior to the meeting and minimize any background noise, according to Zoom. Additionally, hosts should dress to impress and make sure to start the virtual event on time. It is important to set the tone of the event and encourage Q&A’s during the virtual meeting or webinar. As a best practice, Zoom recommends the use of the Chat function to keep track of questions and comments. For larger webinars, Zoom offers a PayPal integration to charge the registration fees seamlessly. 

For the time being, social distancing will be part of the mainstream business landscape until at least May. However, many institutions are adjusting and pivoting more and more to the virtual hosting model to build value, share information and regain a sense of community in a time where residents are being asked to self-isolate as much as possible.  

To learn more visit: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/04/best-practices-for-hosting-a-digital-event/

https://downtownwpb.com/

Spotlight On: Kevin Poet, Charlotte Vice President of Operations, Siemens

Spotlight On: Kevin Poet, Charlotte Vice President of Operations, Siemens

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read AprilCompanies across sectors are fervently working to reduce emissions, switch to renewable energies and use technology to create a cleaner, greener future for the next generations. The same is true for companies directly involved in the energy industry. This year, Siemens AG. announced it will create a new company, Siemens Energy, focusing on conventional power, oil and gas, power transmission and renewable energy to position itself for the future of the industry. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, Charlotte Vice President of Operations Kevin Poet talks about the decision to create the new power and gas company, some of the challenges and opportunities in the energy industry and the near-term outlook for the industry. 

 What will be the focus of Siemens Energy?

The operations in Charlotte and Winston-Salem will be part of the new company. The largest manufacturing site in North America is in Charlotte and gives us the opportunity to focus on growing the business in new areas and markets that we have not traditionally been in. Our legacy work at the Charlotte plant is primarily large-scale, fossil-power generating equipment, and that market and demand is going down, mainly due to renewables and energy efficiency, as well as the push for decentralization and new technologies. We believe this trend will continue, and for us to thrive in a new market we have to get into different businesses and expand our portfolio. In the short term, we are looking at smaller, industrial-sized units that companies use to decentralize their power needs. In the future, we will see these units move toward hydrogen-burning technology, and potentially into new businesses altogether in the mobility, or renewables and wind areas. As a manufacturing center, we have the installed capability necessary to manufacture any of the components, products, and systems along the whole value stream. Our growth initiative aims to reshape what the future looks like as far as engineering and manufacturing.

 

What will the future of clean energy look like?

One of the challenges is balance, as it relates to balancing the needs and the drive to go as fast as we can to clean energy, with the need to continue to supply the demand today with the technology available today. For Siemens, we are the only site in North America that can service the large, traditional generating units that are in power plants. It will be critical for our business going forward, and for our customers, to continue to supply components and provide service for those units until they are transitioned into a cleaner form of energy, or retired altogether. Investment in the energy business is a huge challenge because of the size and scope, the length of the investment and payback. Typically, investing in a power plant is a 20- to 30-year investment. The changing landscape around technology, and what the future of energy will look like, and the volatility when it comes to policy, has a lot of people nervous about making large investments. There is a tug of war between the need to invest and innovate and concern with what the future could look like.   

 

How can companies take advantage of the talent based in the Charlotte region?

The Charlotte region has a developed ecosystem around providing talent. The university system in the region is superb. There is an abundance of opportunities for university partnerships in research, development and workforce training. For example, we do our apprenticeship program through Central Piedmont Community College. They helped develop the curriculum and advised on the training courses, length of time and certifications. They really helped put together a good structured approach to the needs we were trying to fill, and this is happening with other universities across the region as well. For companies looking to relocate to the region, those kinds of available relationships are a selling point.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://new.siemens.com/us/en/company/siemens-in-the-usa/charlotte.html

 

 

GFL Businesses Adapt as Coronavirus Threat Looms for US

GFL Businesses Adapt as Coronavirus Threat Looms for US

By: Sara Warden

2 min read March 2020 — Businesses across South Florida have been hit by the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, as the government issued new advice urging people to stay home if possible. Drastic measures have been taken to prevent the further spread of the virus, but some Fort Lauderdale companies are taking the crisis in stride.

 

 

Fort Lauderdale made the decision to close all public beaches, bars, nightclubs and restaurants. All meetings of city boards and committees have been postponed until the end of March at the earliest. Only essential businesses such as pharmacies and grocery stores are excluded from the measures. The TSA reported that one of its agents at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport tested positive for the virus, bringing the tally to two officers across the state.

“We have to do everything possible to minimize crowds and unfortunately, our beautiful beaches must be part of that plan,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis to South Florida Business Journal. “I want to be clear that this is not an overreaction, but a way for us to help stop further cases of COVID-19 in our community.”

With the measures set to last until April 12, one of the biggest concerns for Fort Lauderdale residents – and for people all over the world – is of a potential shortage in supplies of essentials such as canned goods, medicine and toilet paper. 

As the virus response ramped up, Postmates and Walgreens announced an expansion of their partnership to allow customers to order Walgreens pharmacy goods through Postmates and have them delivered to their doors. The service was piloted in New York six months ago but its ramp up to cover a handful of cities including Fort Lauderdale comes at an opportune time to allow citizens to comfortably practice social distancing. 

Businesses are urging employees to work from home, but are threatened by a drop in productivity. Some forward-thinking businesses had already made preparations, having monitored the unfolding situation from its roots in China’s Wuhan region in December. Davie-based Bankers Healthcare Group implemented home office last Friday after extensive testing of its digital systems. 

“We’ve been preparing for this transition for more than a month, checking and testing our systems to ensure we could continue to do business as usual,” co-founder Eric Castro told South Florida business Journal. “We don’t anticipate any challenges or disruption to our business, and are confident we will not lose productivity.”

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.broward.org/Airport/Pages/default.aspx

https://postmates.com/

https://www.walgreens.com/

https://bankershealthcaregroup.com/

 

For up-to-date advice on the Coronavirus response, you can check the CDC website here.  For Florida-specific information, click here 

Stay hopeful: Handling coronavirus-related stress in Palm Beach County

Stay hopeful: Handling coronavirus-related stress in Palm Beach County

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020 — With constant updates on the coronavirus and its impact on the United States, social media posts displaying frenzied buying, and closure of schools and other municipal buildings, it is easy to stress and feel coronavirus-related anxiety. As you monitor the news for the latest coronavirus developments in Palm Beach County, here are a few ways to make daily life under this changing landscape more bearable.

Try that new restaurant you were craving, via takeout or delivery of course

Many states and municipalities are enforcing early curfews or closing dine-in options altogether in the midst of the coronavirus. However, that does not mean you have to forego that delicious entree or amazing dessert you were craving. Go ahead and treat yourself to succulent food by perusing the different delivery options UberEats, Grubhub, and Delray’s own Delivery Dudes have to offer. Delivery Dudes and the like offer favorite, local restaurant options to enjoy if you are shacked up with the little ones and their homework duties, or neck deep with remote work.     

Go out for a beach walk

As government leaders encourage social distancing, this may be the best time to get in touch with nature and disconnect from the stress brought on by the coronavirus talks. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach is the perfect place to stay six feet away from people and then some. Though events have been canceled, the park remains open until further notice and is encouraging beach walks. Dip your feet in the sand, stretch, and breathe in the Palm Beach air as you take a mental break from the news and other worries. 

Connect with others

In this particularly stressful period, it is easy to sulk and retreat from others, especially with talks of self-isolation and quarantine. However, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends to use this time to reach out to others who may also feel stressed and anxious due to the coronavirus pandemic. The administration recommends that reaching out to those you trust is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness and boredom during the possibility of social distancing, quarantine and isolation. SAMHSA recommends to use telephone, email, text or email messaging, as well as Skype and other video conferencing services to stay in touch with loved ones and friends. The administration recommends to maintain a hopeful and positive attitude during this time and to consider keeping a journal to write down grateful and positive thoughts. 

Family staycations:

Staycations have been part of the social conscience for some years, and now is the time to perfect the coveted family staycation. Use this time to have some fun with the entire family as schools and workplaces transition into online classes and remote work. Come up with an after-dinner family movie list or interactive project. Maybe it’s time to dust off those boardgames or old books littering the garage, and why not do some spring cleaning while you’re at it. Perhaps a family dance-off or storytelling competition could help break the monotony of being indoors and bring the family closer together. Try it out. With so much time indoors, it is the perfect time to enjoy family time in a totally new fashion. 

To learn more, visit: 

https://deliverydudes.com/

https://www.macarthurbeach.org/

https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4894.pdf

For up-to-date advice on the Coronavirus response, you can check the CDC website here.  For Florida-specific information, click here

Spotlight On:Bruce Cohen, CEO, OrthoCarolina

Spotlight On:Bruce Cohen, CEO, OrthoCarolina

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020 Shifting from the traditional fee-for-service environment prevalent in the U.S. healthcare system to value-based care programs requires innovative processes and outside-the-box thinking, all to the benefit of the patient. Bruce Cohen, CEO of OrthoCarolina, shares how the company is spearheading this transition.

What are the drivers of OrthoCarolina’s success and what does that entail for 2020?

OrthoCarolina is a large, independent musculoskeletal group. Our geography stretches outside of Charlotte, all the way up into the Piedmont Triad and Winston-Salem, including Hickory, Shelby and Laurinburg, with our hub in Charlotte. What makes us different is that we are on the cutting edge, embracing value-based care, seeking to lower care costs for our patients, getting them to the right facilities and providers. Our No. 1 goal is to increase access. Historically, healthcare has lacked transparency, leading to poor access and communication and resulting in high costs. We had close to a million patient visits in 2019. OrthoCarolina has 40 locations, including offices, physical and occupational therapy. We are also involved in outpatient surgery centers, which are critical for orthopedic care. 

 

How is OrthoCarolina bolstering accessibility from a business standpoint?

The transition from the traditional fee-for-service environment into an innovative, outside-the-box, value-based care program is complex. Physicians are resistant to change so empowering and engaging them, promoting the fact that this transition comes out of a true necessity and obligation is a lengthy process. We are on the forefront at the national level in that regard. The first step is to educate people that this new option translates into better care and better access, providing different choices for our patients. We have to look at our patients as consumers, inject transparency over treatment costs and inform them what their options are. Wait times at doctors’ offices or hospitals that go for hours on end, for instance, are no longer acceptable. The challenge is to provide quality care and service without the patients feeling like a commodity or that they are on an assembly line. We developed a set of benchmarks relating to patient satisfaction, which we published online and internally so our doctors know where they stand.

 

How can your success move to the larger healthcare systems?

North Carolina is a Certificate of Need (CON) state, which has attracted powerful healthcare organizations that we work with closely. It is difficult from a regulatory standpoint because they often have much more control over the healthcare dollar than the rest of us do. That is all changing, however, with much more ongoing collaboration than there used to be. The systems are open to it and Charlotte is a great example. Healthcare systems are starting to embrace and acknowledge the fact they have to look at costs and stress quality and state-of-the art facilities and offer all services. Charlotte is one of the higher-cost healthcare markets in the country. It is not a sustainable model. 

 

What health trends have you identified in Charlotte?

Our community has a primarily young component to it parallel to an aging population. On the one hand, it is healthy but more active, which creates the need for orthopedic services given the training-related injuries and other issues related to an active population. On the other hand, we are witnessing big retirement communities coming to town. Those needs, especially on the musculoskeletal side, are growing. The technology and advances in orthopedic care have enabled people to do well and be more active. 

 

How is OrthoCarolina tackling the talent issue?

It is a competitive field. As we expand and look to provide more access, we are facing two large healthcare systems in town that make their presence felt when they open a new facility and launch a hiring campaign. Charlotte’s workforce is also highly competitive. Unemployment rates are low, it is a nice place to live, people want to be here. On the provider side, 2018 was the first time in orthopedics that more professionals finishing their training went into hospital employment positions rather than joining an independent practice.  

 

What is on the near-term horizon for OrthoCarolina?

We are leading the charge particularly on joint and spine replacements. We launched our coordinated care program to tackle episodic care, which up until 2019 had amounted to 150 patients a year, and we are looking at potentially 1,000 cases for 2020 to become a part of this program. It includes a care navigator that checks on our patients throughout the whole episode, preoperatively and postoperatively. Our outcomes have shown close to zero complications or readmissions for program participants. 

The next step is population health. This revolves around developing a program to manage the entire health of the population in coordination with different stakeholders: physicians, hospitals, insurance companies. For us, it means focusing on the musculoskeletal aspect of the program. That is when algorithms and protocols come into play to avoid redundancies, unnecessary tests and undergoing procedures at the right time and for the right patient. Our priority is to serve our community. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.orthocarolina.com/

Florida leaders monitor COVID-19

Florida leaders monitor COVID-19

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020As an increasing number of countries experience outbreaks of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, Florida leaders are urging residents to stay calm despite two confirmed cases in the Sunshine State. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed two people in Manatee and Hillsborough counties having tested positive for COVID-19, the Palm Beach Post reported. “Despite these cases, the overall immediate threat to the public remains low,” DeSantis said, according to the newspaper. State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees advised residents to stay calm. “You can go about your normal business,” he said. 

 

As of Tuesday, there have been 124 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. While there have been no confirmed cases in Palm Beach, the county and municipalities are monitoring the situation closely. Town of Palm Beach officials, fire rescue personnel and law enforcement have been actively monitoring developments related to the Coronavirus since it was first discovered in Wuhan, China, the town of Palm Beach said in a press release.

The town of Palm Beach public safety personnel have reviewed and adjusted their emergency response plans in full compliance with CDC and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) recommendations, and are prepared to handle any potential coronavirus impact in our community should it occur, the municipality announced. 

Currently, Palm Beach County schools function as normal, though the district is ramping up its cleaning methods in all schools, the Palm Beach Daily News reported. The district is buying additional bleach and wipes to disinfect surfaces throughout the school system. The cleaning initiative will be re-evaluated at the end of March “to determine if continued intensive cleaning is warranted,” the newspaper reported.

In its risk assessment, the CDC reports that most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to the virus. The COVID-19 virus is not spreading widely in the United States; however, updates are to follow, the CDC reported. There is no vaccine, so prevention is the best approach, the town of Palm Beach advised. The town recommended residents to wash hands often, avoid the touching of eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible, and to seek out the flu shot if not done already, among other precautions.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://townofpalmbeach.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1204

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html

Face Off: Bringing More Energy to the Bay

Face Off: Bringing More Energy to the Bay

By: Max Crampton Thomas

4 min read February 2020 As the Tampa Bay region continues to grow both in population size and new developments, the need for access to more energy and cleaner energy solutions grows with it. Invest: spoke with the leaders of two of the main sources of energy for the region and their innovative approach to creating cleaner energy solutions. T.J. Szelistowski serves as the president for Peoples Gas, which has provided Florida residents and businesses with reliable, environmentally-friendly, economical natural gas products and service since 1895. Nancy Tower leads Tampa Electric as its president and CEO. The utility has served the Tampa Bay area for 120 years, with more than 5,000MW of generating capacity. 

How is your company innovating in terms of technology?

T.J. Szelistowski: The last time we spoke, we discussed implementing gas-fired heat pumps that use natural gas instead of electricity for air conditioning. We are working with several customers on installations of this technology.  Additionally, we have installed the technology in three of our facilities and have been pleased with the performance.  

In terms of other technologies, we are targeting farming and waste facilities that release methane into the air. Our environmental solution is to capture that methane and clean it up to reinject it into the system. This not only provides a cleaner form of natural gas but also reduces methane emissions. We look forward to announcing some significant projects with this technology in the near future.

Nancy Tower: We believe battery storage is a part of our energy future. The technology is new, and we’re not ready to deploy that on a large scale until we figure out the true impact it will have on our system. We have put in place a battery storage project this year near our Big Bend solar project, which will give us really good information on how solar and battery storage interacts with our system. We’re really looking at how we can integrate battery storage into the complexity of the renewable energy ecosystem.

In other technologies, we are also in the middle of a large-scale installation of smart meters, which provide a lot more information and allow us to provide customers with superior service. 

T.J. Szelistowski

Why has investment in cleaner, more renewable energy and environmental sustainability been such a focus for your company?

Szelistowski: Natural gas is the perfect partner to renewable solar energy to provide capacity when the sun is not shining and to ensure energy is available to customers around the clock. Additionally, natural gas can provide great environmental benefits by replacing diesel fuel usage in large vehicles, such as buses and waste-management trucks.   

 A variety of ships are starting to convert to natural gas because of changing environmental regulations, specifically IMO 2020, which slashes permissible levels of sulfur permitted in fuel for seaborne vessels to minimal levels and opens the door for liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative.

Tower: The biggest factor is that customers want it. When thinking back over the last few years, the number of people focused on a cleaner environment has increased exponentially. This is symbolic of the focus citizens and our customers have on environmental stewardship, and that is not going away. We are very happy with our progress.

I think it’s our obligation on behalf of customers to demonstrate that clean energy is not only our responsibility in terms of an environmental perspective, but also from a cost perspective. We are focused on both of those things simultaneously. As the entity generating electricity, we have the responsibility of doing that in the most responsible way.

Nancy Tower

How would you respond to the argument that clean energy is not yet cost-effective or readily available?  

Szelistowski: Natural gas interstate transmission pipelines are relatively new to Florida compared with the Northeast, having been introduced only in the 1950s. In addition, natural gas is a primary source of space heating in many parts of the country. With limited space heating in Florida, natural gas is primarily used for cooking, water heating and clothes drying in addition to industrial uses. We see a great desire for natural gas by people who have moved from other parts of the country and have enjoyed using natural gas in the past.  

In terms of misconceptions, people do not realize the widespread availability of natural gas in Florida. Additionally, they may not realize the affordable nature of home and business use of natural gas. With low and steady gas prices, natural gas provides a great alternative to both business and homes.  

Tower: It is our job to ensure that our generation portfolio is the most cost-effective for customers. Over the long term, we have carried out extensive cost modeling to ensure we can meet these expectations. In the next number of years, we will add more solar capacity and our generation will include more small-scale methods combined with battery storage. This doesn’t come without hard work and we need to find the right ways to keep costs low. This involves finding the right land close to our transmission infrastructure, ensuring suppliers are providing competitive prices and efficient cost management. Costs have come down, but we need to ensure we tightly manage this.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.tampaelectric.com/

https://www.peoplesgas.com/

Miami’s Top 5 Fantastic Food Festivities

Miami’s Top 5 Fantastic Food Festivities

By: Max Crampton Thomas

4 min read February 2020 This weekend on Miami Beach there are guaranteed to be three things – food, wine and good times. While this is the recipe for most memorable times had in one of Miami’s top tourist destinations, this weekend in particular is heightened by the annual The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival. In most markets, a festival like this would be an outlier as the premier food and beverage event for that year, but Miami is not most markets. The fact is, Miami-Dade is home to an onslaught of premier food and beverage festivities that would make any culinary connoisseur’s mouth water. Invest: explores five of the top foodie festivities in the Miami-Dade region. 

South Beach Seafood Festival  

To be considered a Top 5 Speciality Festival by USAToday, listed by Forbes as a Top 5 thing to do in fall and recognized by Travel Channel as the best seafood festival in the United States is no small accomplishment. This four-day festival features three nights of culinary events that lead up to the ultimate seafood festival experience. These preliminary events include an exclusive VIP experience, An Evening at Joe’s, brought to life by food from the historic Joe’s Stone Crab, a cocktail hour-type event called Crabs, Slabs and Cabs featuring Surf N Turf favorites paired with various cabernets, and finally the VIP Chef Showdown, which showcases 14 of the best local chefs cooking up their greatest culinary creations. All of these lead into the big event on the fourth day that spans over four blocks of Miami Beach, features 30 bars, music, culinary demonstrations and enough delicious seafood to please the over 15,000 attendees. This event takes place from Oct. 21-24, 2020. 

For more, visit: https://sobeseafoodfest.com/

 

 

Seed Food & Wine Week 

Plant-based diets may not be for everyone, but this four-day event features culinary dishes and experiences that could make even the most devout carnivores consider incorporating more meat-alternatives into their meal plan. Spanning the course of four days, this event touts itself as more of an experience than just a festival as it features a plant-based burger battle, a plant-based pitch off, taco tailgate party, rise and shine yoga experience and meditation, and finally the big event: Seed Festival Day Tasting Village. This vegan-inspired week is also unique in that its events are not centralized and take place in various spots around Miami-Dade, including Wynwood and Downtown Miami. The event runs from Nov. 7-10. 

To learn more, visit: https://www.seedfoodandwine.com/

Doral Food & Wine Festival 

This food and wine festival is going on its fourth year, and while the event has grown significantly since its inception in 2016, this year promises to be bigger, better and even tastier. Over the course of two days, families are encouraged to come out to Doral Central Park and experience live entertainment and live cooking demonstrations. While wine may be in the title, the event is geared toward the entire family, with free entry for kids and an entire area, referred to as the Kids Zone, dedicated to fun activities and games for the little ones. Taking place over March 21 and 22, this year’s event looks to attract over 10,000 people. 

For more, visit: https://doralfoodandwinefestival.com/

South Florida’s Taste of the Nation

This culinary adventure is a one-night experience that is not only delicious and fun, it also supports a great cause. Described as an elegant evening with some of South Florida’s greatest chefs and mixologists, Taste of the Nation offers guests a chance to try food and drinks from over 50 different South-Florida based restaurants and bars. While normally the best parts of these events are the food and drink, it is actually the impact of dollars collected from the night that is most significant as 100% of local proceeds support the No Kid Hungry campaign’s work to bring an end to childhood hunger in Florida. The event takes place the night of May 16, 2020. 

For more information, visit: https://events.nokidhungry.org/events/south-floridas-taste-nation/

The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) 

SOBEWFF is a five-day gathering of “who’s who” in the culinary world, over 100 different festival events and over 65,000 people in total attendance. This world-renowned festival has an event for everyone, from the casual food and wine fan to the highest class of food critic. While many of these events could be considered the “big event,” perhaps most well-known is the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village showcasing offerings from more than 50 restaurants and a variety of wines and spirits as well as a closing cooking demonstration by well-known celebrity chef Guy Fieri. The festival is in full swing Feb.19-23. 

To learn more, visit: https://sobewff.org/