Tickets are quickly running out for one of Cape Coral's most anticipated competitions.
The 8th Annual Best South Cape Martini Competition will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Jan. 25 in downtown Cape Coral. Hosted by the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Associations, the competition features 10 venues serving up their best martini and a complementary food sample.
"It's an excellent opportunity for anybody new to the area or anybody who hasn't been to these local establishments to check them out," Shelly LaPaglia, the owner of BackStreets Sports Bar, said.
"It's just a neat way to see all that the South Cape's entertainment and bars have to offer," she said.
Tickets cost $20 per person, which covers 2-ounce sample of each drink and the food samples.
A total of 1,000 tickets are being sold for the event.
8th Annual Best South Cape Martini Competition
* BackStreets Sports Bar (915 S.E. 47th Terrace): Chocolate Strawberry Martini
* Chicago Pizza (1341 S.E. 47th Terrace): Samoa Martini
* Cruiser's Lounge (1517 S.E. 47th Terrace): The Cape's Bleu SKYY Martini
* Dixie Roadhouse (1023 S.E. 47th Terrace): Roadhouse Float Martini
* Monkey Bar & Steakhouse (1428 Lafayette St.): Monkey Passion Martini
* Rack'em Billiards (1011 S.E. 47th Terrace): The 007 Martini
* Ralph's Place (1305 E. Cape Coral Parkway): Ralph's Raspberry Cheesecake Martini
* Red's Fresh Seafood House & Tavern (850 Lafayette St.): Red Snow Cone Martini
* Tiki Hut Bar & Grill (1502 Miramar St.): Orange Tiksicle Martini
* Tubby's City Hangout (4810 Vincennes St.): Caramel Apple Martini
Source: South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Associations
"Every location has tickets right now, but not a lot of tickets," LaPaglia said.
People can also purchase a designated driver wristband for $10 each, which entitles the wearer to the food samples and a non-alcoholic soda or water at each of the participating establishments.
"Those are for sale at the check-in booth only," she said of the DD wristbands.
Tickets will be available for purchase at any of the venues until Wednesday. After Wednesday, any remaining tickets will be available in the lobby of the Dolphin Key Resort starting Friday.
"We generally sell out on Friday," LaPaglia said.
"People are buying them earlier and earlier," she added.
The Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency initiated the competition eight years ago. A few years ago, the CRA passed the torch to the Kiwanis, before the associations took it up this year.
"It is the first year that we're doing it," LaPaglia said.
The day of the competition, check-in for ticket holders will open at 6:30 p.m. There are two booths, which will be located in the Club Square and Big John's parking lots.
Trolleys will shuttle attendees between the venues, then people vote on their top three drinks.
"We have changed the voting from classic martini, dessert martini and exotic martini, to just first, second and third place," LaPaglia said.
She explained that the associations felt that there was really only one type of classic martini, and the dessert and exotic entries were overlapping one another, so the new system streamlines the voting.
Once people fill out their ballot, they can turn it into the trolley host.
"There's a trolley host on each trolley," LaPaglia said.
This year, BackStreets will be serving up a Chocolate Strawberry Martini.
"Everybody loves chocolate," she said. "It's also easy to prepare - you can't get into anything too difficult when you're serving 1,000 people."
The drink will come with a chocolate covered strawberry as the food sample. LaPaglia explained that the fruity dessert will be a change to the bite-sized food items other venues are dishing up.
"We like to provide a little something different," she said. "Just to break it up a little."
Parking is available in Club Square and Big John's lot and behind Burger King and Iguana Mia's.
For more information on the 8th Annual Best South Cape Martini Competition, visit: www.facebook.com/SouthCapeHospitalityAndEntertainmentAssociations.