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Larry Blustein

Expo Alfresco, 4/8/2015

20th Annual Expo Alfresco –A Taste of Hollywood

By Larry Blustein
– Through the course of the year, the City of Hollywood hosts some impressive events that attract residents and visitors alike. But when it comes to the Expo Alfresco - A Taste of Hollywood, it's three hours that not only showcases the many restaurants and businesses, but puts this area in such a positive spotlight.
   This year, The Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) hosts its 20th Annual Expo Alfresco –A Taste of Hollywood from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at ArtsPark at Young Circle (Hollywood Boulevard and Federal Highway) on Wednesday, April 8th, 2015. Free parking downtown after 5p.m. or $1 per hour in the Radius and Van Buren garages.
   This extravaganza will showcase over 100 booths from South Florida’s finest eateries and businesses and attract over 3,000 attendees! Event-goers will have the opportunity to meet local businesses, sample signature dishes from some of Hollywood’s best restaurants and taste selected wines from around the world--sponsored by Hollywood Liquor Discount & Wine.
   "We have been to the past 10 of these and it gets better and better every year," said Hollywood resident Myriam Nieves. "We first came out when they held this along Harrison Street and featured a number of local restaurants, but the change to the ArtsPark, gives it a more festival feel."
   Some of the most popular dining hotspots in the city and surrounding areas flock to this event that have become a signature day. With every food imaginable being served up to those who attend, has really put this three hours in a league by itself.

Among those restaurants taking part this year include:
   Ala Turca Mediterranean Cuisine, Bistro 1902, Brio Tuscan Grille, Center Stage Coffee, Corsair Restaurant  at Turnberry Isle Resort Golf Club, Diplomat Prime at the Diplomat Resort & Spa, Elements Bistro at the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach Resort, The Fresh Squeeze Café, GG'S Waterfront Bar & Grill, Gino's Italian Market, Jardesca California Aperitiva, J28 Sandwich Bar, Joes Crab Shack, Il Posto Ristorante, Mamacita's Mexican Bar & Grill, Liguori's Fired Up, Mama Mia Italian Ristorante, Miramar Bakery, Over The Top Catering, Perrone's Cucina Italiana, Pita Pockets, Popcorn Zone Gourmet Popcorn, Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, Red Chair Catering, School of Culinary Arts -Sheridan Technical College  and VINO Hollywood.
   Each year, several sponsors step up to make this a premier event. This year's sponsors include: Memorial Healthcare System, Waste Pro, Kindred Hospital of Hollywood, Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency, Billy's Stone Crab Inc., Hollywood Discount Liquor & Wine, Perfect Liquor & Wine, Muzart Creative Arts Studios, South Florida Sun Times Newspaper, Sidram Power Inc., Color Reflections, ArtsPark at Young Circle, Hollywood Gazette, City Streetz, City Of Hollywood and Classical South Florida.
   In addition to the impressive list of restaurants, other exhibitors include: ADT Security Service, Residential Business, and Medical Pendants, ArtsPark @ Young Circle, Barry University, Bright Star Credit Union, Cinema Paradiso, City College Hollywood, City of Hollywood, City Streetz, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Color Reflections, Combined Ins., Cooling FX Inc., Details and  Design, LLC, Diplomat Golf, Tennis & Yacht Club, Dolphin Limousine Service, Inc., E.H. Whitson Services, Glen's Tent & Table Rental Service, Inc., Greater Hollywood YMCA Family Center, Hollywood CRA, Hollywood Discount Liquors, Perfect Liquor & Wine, Hollywood Gazette, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital –Bear Clinic, Jungle Queen River Boat Cruises, Kindred Hospital, Leung Healthcare of Hollywood & Leung Dental Care, Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapels, Liberty Tax Service 17507, Mary Kay, Inc.
Memorial Healthcare System, Metro PCS, Muzart Creative Arts Studio, PNC Bank, Post Haste Pharmacy, Relay for Life/American Cancer Society, Scarano Presidential Circle Funeral Home, Sidram Power Inc.
Signs Now Broward, Sun Credit Union, South Florida Sun Times Newspaper, Toyota of Hollywood, Water Taxi of Fort Hollywood/ Lauderdale and Waste Pro.

FIREHOUSE COOK-OFF SHOWDOWN IS BACK?    Back by popular demand, “Firehouse Cook Off Showdown." Participating firehouses are: Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Department, Fort    Lauderdale Fire Department, Hollywood Fire Department, Hallandale Fire Department and City of Miami Fire Department.
    Each firehouse will battle (Iron Chef Style) for one hour to produce an appetizer, main course and a dessert utilizing a secret ingredient.  A panel of 5 judges will be deciding this year’s winner. The judges are: Executive Chef Andres Teran  -- Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, Executive Chef Prakash Alagarsamy --  Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach Resort, Marc Young --Radio Personality Hot 105 Cox Media, Susan Wise --Radio Personality Easy 93.1 Cox Media Executive  and Chef Michael McDonnel  --School of Culinary Art Sheridan Technical College.
   Each firehouse will be cheered on by local high schools pep bands!
    "Expo Alfresco—A Taste of Hollywood is a great experience as a business owner," said Maribel Ruiz & Luis Guevara, Beauty of Wax & President of the Hollywood Downtown Business Association. "Not only did we get great exposure, but added many new customers. We gave coupons for our spa with the Expo Alfresco logo on the back and got at least 25 new clients redeem them. We definitely will be part of this event this year and in the years to come.”
    The day has become so popular that the 2015 Expo Alfresco –A Taste of Hollywood has been sanctioned as an official Broward Centennial event. 2015 marks the 100th birthday of Broward County. Broward 100 is embarking on a yearlong centennial celebration between October 2014 and October 2015 to showcase the communities within the County and commemorate its history, culture and arts.
   Also back by popular demand, Hollywood’s very own Muzart Creative Arts Studio’s Kidz Korner, sponsored by Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant & Market. The corner will entertain interactive cooking booths for kids 4 to 12 years old, a drum circle, interactive games for all ages and a live art show! In addition, this year we will welcome for the first time the Joe DiMaggio’s Bear Clinic!

    Tickets for Hollywood’s Expo Alfresco are only $20 and children under 10 are free! To reserve your booth or purchase tickets, visit our website at: or call 954 923-4000.

By Larry Blustein
   It could be 163rd Street, Miami Gardens Drive, Ives Dairy Road, Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hollywood Blvd., Sheridan Street or Stirling Road. You are headed east in the morning and west in the evening and you are not moving!
   Welcome to winter and spring in south Florida - and while we all realize that traffic is with us 12 months a year - it tends to get worse during the five months from November until late March.
    With visitors flocking to this warm weather paradise, the traffic increases and many locals are not happy. Routine five minute drives turn into 30 and 45 minute excursions in some areas - and if you add in construction - the lines can be longer!
    "There is nothing routine about the traffic this time of year," Hallandale Beach resident Jennifer Attencio. "I needed to go to Wal Mart last week and I live near the middle school (Gulfstream). It took me 25 minutes. That is a bit crazy."
   While many are not happy, there are those who have lived in south Florida long enough to know the routine and fully understand that if there is no traffic this time of year, it signals that our businesses are not thriving, and in order to survive a full year, these are the months that they really need.
   With many new businesses opening up in this region, traffic signals that there is some light at the end of a tough economic time. Hollywood resident Milo Dunbar has run a business in Dania Beach, and has remained patient that these months will bring in business and perhaps attract a few new customers that actually live here.
    "I deal in antiques and items that are priced fairly," Dunbar said. "We are a Facebook and Twitter promoted company, so it's essential to always generate revenue this time of year."

    It's not bad enough that the traffic increases during the tourist season, but the powers who call the shots at the Department of Transportation feel that this is also the time of year that is good to have road construction - and not minor fixes.
    I-95 has an ongoing traffic issue that may not directly impact our traffic, but it certainly doesn't help that A1A from Seacrest Parkway to the County Line Improvements Project in Hallandale Beach and Hollywood have caused backups. Up to two lanes in each direction of A1A from Seacrest Parkway to the Miami-Dade County Line have been closed Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Sidewalks on both sides of A1A will be closed intermittently Monday through Friday. Signs will be in place to direct pedestrians to sidewalk detours.
    Also, U-turns from A1A northbound at the intersections of La Mer Condominiums (1890 S. Ocean Drive) and Hemispheres Condominiums (1980 S. Ocean Drive) are restricted Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. due to lane closures on A1A southbound.
    "While I do understand that many of these repairs or rebuilds take years to complete, there are other road issues that could be taken care of in June, July, August or September," A.J. Acker of Hollywood Beach explained. "This is the time of year when any lane closure can result in a lengthy delay."
    US 441 Improvements Project in Hollywood and Seminole Tribe of Florida
Project improvements include adding one through lane in each direction for a total of six lanes with left turn lanes separated by raised medians, constructing new storm sewer system and retention ponds, installing new water and sewer lines, constructing bus bays at current bus stop locations, constructing curbs and gutters, adding or replacing sidewalks with ADA compliant ramps on both sides of the road, upgrading existing signalized intersections with mast arms and add pedestrian countdown timers at  Johnson Street, Taft Street, and Sheridan Street, installing a new signalized intersection and pedestrian countdown timers at Fillmore Street, improving street lighting along the corridor by installing new lighting system along the west side of SR 7 / US 441, adding Intelligent Transportation System components including digital message signs and traffic monitoring cameras, and resurfacing the roadway.

US-441/State Road 7 Roadway Project
    The US-441/State Road 7 corridor has been one of the City of Hollywood’s most important residential and commercial districts for decades. The corridor is home to retail shops, restaurants, automotive dealerships and many other businesses, and thousands of Hollywood residents live in the area. US-441/State Road 7 is accessed every day by individuals heading to work along the corridor or elsewhere in Hollywood, and local businesses depend on this thoroughfare for commerce. Construction work on US-441/State Road 7 in Hollywood is scheduled to be completed by 2018.