Volunteers Needed for the Sebring Soda Festival

Liz Barber has eight nonprofit groups confirmed to staff tasting booths at the upcoming Sebring Soda Festival, April 6-7.

Some of them, like Habitat for Humanity, will work two booths on the Sebring Circle, but not all. Barber would like to get 50 booths covered. The event has 200 varieties of craft soft drinks for visitors to sample and the more booths, the better.

“We’ll have long lines otherwise, and no one likes long lines,” Barber said to the Tourist Development Council at its monthly meeting Thursday.

The TDC has already budgeted $20,000 in partnership to promote the event outside of Highlands County and provide entertainment. The band playing at the event will be the Moon Rays, a doo-wop band that has even played a birthday party for recording artist Katy Perry.

The event will also have celebrity mixologist Brenda Terry do a cocktail demonstration and food pairings at the Pop & Fizz Cocktail Pairing Party after the day event: 6-9 p.m. at the Jack Stroup Civic Center.

The booths, however, will be around the Circle that day — from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Barber wants two people at least on each booth at all times, manned throughout the event.

Organizations whose members will volunteer need to bring a folding table and chairs and an EZ-up (pop-up) tent.

The Chamber will provide sodas, bottle openers, coolers, ice and all items necessary to run the tasting portion of the event, Barber said. The volunteer groups can split the tent between on half for the tasting area and the other half to promote the non-profit.

Barber has more than 100 nonprofit groups in the Chamber, and is not picky. Volunteers can be from government offices/agencies, churches or high school clubs, like the National Honor Society or the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). High school students need to obtain volunteer hours for graduation.

The Soda Fest will also have commemorative tasting cups — miniature Mason jars with the event logo — along with tote bags for the first 1,000 attendees, including those who buy tickets online before the event.

The event is the brainchild of Renee and Jeff Kennedy, owners of Sebring Soda & Ice Cream Works, which will take part in providing food at the event, Barber said: Bratwurst and Italian beef sandwiches, along with their line of craft sodas, ice cream and soda floats.

Other restaurants confirmed to be taking part are Sandy’s Circle Cafe, Staircase Grill (formerly Lazy Dog), the Top Hat Cafe (by Circle Theatre) and Faded Bistro. Other restaurants may come on board, as well, Barber said.

Barber said she and organizers hope to have bottlers on hand. So far, they have Cheerwine attending.

Bottlers they want are small operations using natural ingredients, i.e. real sugar, and bottling in relatively small quantities compared to national brands. They have been a challenge to contact, Barber said. While all have websites and some have Facebook pages, few of them list addresses to which she can mail an invitation and information package.

Event maps, programs and tasting tickets will be available before the event at www.sebringsodafest.com. Barber said people can purchase VIP packages, which include the pairing event, for $80.

People may also call the Sebring Chamber at 863-385-8448 for details.

Attinger, Phil. (2018, February 28). Soda Fest Seeks Volunteers. Highlands News Sun. Retieved from http://yoursun.com/sunnews/sebring/14182640-699/story.html.csp.