First Look: Corks and Forks Maitland – A Tasting Event

In the early 1960s, the Maitland Civic Center was founded as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, offering Maitland residents a place to gather as a community. Now known as Venue on Lake Lily, it will be going back to its roots next month by hosting the inaugural Corks and Forks, presented by Mercedes-Benz of Orlando, to raise funds for its operations and improvements.

“It’s not just this old building,” Venue on Lake Lily’s President and Chairman of the Board Renee Charlan says. “It has a soul. It’s a living, breathing component of the community.”

That’s why, in addition to fundraising, a major focus of the tasting event will be showcasing what the Venue offers residents who are planning special occasions through the event experience. Charlan says the planning stages for Corks and Forks began with the idea of giving a platform to the community’s restaurants and to truly tie in that community element.

“Restaurants have been devastated in our country,” she says. “The idea that we could plan something that would be safe, outdoors and be able to make sure that the community knew that these restaurants are still here, it’s more of a way to give back to the restaurants that have suffered throughout all of this.”

With Lake Lily as the backdrop, guests will have the opportunity to visit several restaurant booths to sample their signature dishes. Beer, wine and spirit vendors will also be on hand to pair beverage samplings with each bite. Samplings can be savored while strolling along the event path, which will also include booths for community organizations such as the Rotary Club, Art & History Museums Maitland and more. Or, with a VIP ticket or table purchase, guests can enjoy their time in the VIP Patron Club for a truly luxurious experience.

One of the event’s flagship restaurants is Antonio’s Ristorante Maitland, which serves a smart selection of classic Italian cuisine from Monday through Saturday. Restaurants will continue to be announced in the coming weeks, and a full list can be found on the event website.

As an independently funded organization, meaning no City of Maitland funds go toward the management or daily operations of the building or its events, Venue at Lake Lily is planning a special evening in celebration of all that Maitland has to offer. From exciting live entertainment to unlimited gourmet food and beverage offerings, Corks and Forks is setting the stage to become a must-attend event for years to come.

The inaugural Corks and Forks will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 13. Safety measures, such as temperature checks, social distancing and mask requirements, will be in place. All proceeds will benefit the historic Maitland Civic Center, also known as Venue on Lake Lily. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


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Written by Lyndsay Fogarty

Lyndsay Fogarty has had many roles at Central Florida Lifestyle, working her way from intern to contributing writer to managing editor. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication where she earned her degree in journalism. Along the way, she has learned that teamwork and dedication to your craft will get you far, and a positive outlook on the present will get you even farther.

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