By LOIS KINDLE
The Enterprising Latinas will host the Wimauma Sabor & Soul Food Tours between noon and 6 p.m. Aug. 19, 20, 26 and 27.
“We are excited to welcome visitors from across Tampa Bay to Wimauma and be able to share what we love about our community through its food, heritage, and special stories,” said Liz Gutierrez, CEO & Founder of the Enterprising Latinas. “The food tours continue our mission of creating pathways of opportunity for women and expanding economic growth to benefit Wimauma’s low-income residents.”
“Our goal is to introduce the diverse and rich history of our Wimauma community in South Hillsborough County through its food traditions,” added Illeana Cintron, Enterprising Latinas deputy director.
“Guests must select their preferred date and time slot,” she said. “Two trolleys from Jolly Trolley in Clearwater will take them on hourly tours from our Wimauma Opportunity Center.”
Riders will travel along State Road 674 to visit seven Hispanic and African American restaurants, where they’ll enjoy a food tasting, and seven cultural sites.
The trolleys can accommodate 20 riders at a time on the 90-minute tours. The cost is $30 per person.
Proceeds from the ticket sales and sponsorships will help cover transportation, vendor and insurance costs, said Cintron, who added she hopes to break even.
She and Gutierrez will serve as bilingual tour guides.
“The value of taking the tour is not simply found in tasting the food but also in learning about Wimauma’s entrepreneurs and the businesses they built,” Cintron said. “We’re changing people’s perception of the community and highlighting Wimauma as a food and cultural destination.”
Wimauma’s original farmworkers were African American. In the 1960s, Mexican families were brought in to work the fields.
One of the cultural sites to be visited is the Wimauma Heritage Cemetery at First Prospect Missionary Baptist Church. The former potter’s field includes the graves of former slaves and World War I veterans. Its oldest recorded burial was in 1866.
Without giving everything away, some of the other sites to be visited are Lake Wimauma and Southshore Bay Lagoon.
“The tour is a pilot project, a compilation of old and new, with delicious bites in between,” Citron said. “We hope to develop others in the future. We’re very excited to get this one started and interested in seeing what comes of it.”
Wimauma Sabor & Soul Food Tours was made possible by a special grant the Enterprising Latinas received in the amount of $11,472 from the Cultural Assets Commission of Hillsborough County. Other sponsors include PNC Bank, Walmart, Florida Home Partnership, Hillsborough Community College Southshore and the Wimauma Together Collaborative.
Tickets are selling quickly, so RSVP now to ensure your seat.
For more information and to sign up for one of the Wimauma Sabor & Soul Food tours, visit www.enterprisinglatinas.org/events. Or you can reserve your seat by credit card over the phone by calling 813-699-5811. Anyone needing technical assistance can stop by the Wimauma Opportunity Center at 5128 S.R. 674 in Wimauma.