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The inaugural Fort Lauderdale Pizza Festival will take place Saturday, April 1.
The inaugural Fort Lauderdale Pizza Festival will take place Saturday, April 1.
Photo by Matt Keever / Flickr

Fort Lauderdale's First Pizza Festival Arrives This April

Fort Lauderdale's first pizza-centric event will bring lots of cheesy goodness to South Florida.

The Fort Lauderdale Pizza Festival is expected to draw thousands of people. The inaugural event will feature craft beer and wine tents, live music, lawn games, cooking demos, and more than 120 vendors specializing in pizza.

The Pizza Festival is the brainchild of Lais Pontes, founder of the Pontes Group. A former Forbes "30 Under 30" honoree, Pontes says the idea for the Fort Lauderdale Pizza Festival began as a passion project. Despite success growing her Fort Lauderdale-based public relations agency to a second Los Angeles location, Pontes' dream was to produce and fund her own large-scale event.

"I knew I wanted it to be a festival and that it had to be in Fort Lauderdale," Pontes says. "Now, after months of planning, I believe this event will be the first of its kind in South Florida, offering the area's biggest selection of pizza.

"I wanted there to be a huge selection, everything from national chains to local pizza restaurants and even familiar frozen pizza brands," said Pontes, who plans to expand the event outside Florida in the coming years. "At the end of the day, our goal is to showcase the vast variety of pizza to the local community. It's about bringing everyone together over something we all love." A full list of participating restaurants isn't yet available, but sponsors include Mellow Mushroom, Funky Buddha, and Concrete Beach Brewery.

The Fort Lauderdale Pizza Festival will take place Saturday, April 1, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the War Memorial Auditorium, located at 800 NE Eighth St. in Holiday Park. General-admission tickets cost $30 per person and include access to the festival, two slices of pizza, and a beverage. VIP tickets, which cost $75, are limited to 500 guests and include early entrance at noon, VIP perks, and an official VIP gift bag. Visit fortlauderdalepizzafestival.com.

In case you need more reason to eat pizza, a portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to Feeding South Florida.

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