MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – There are good spirits all around as the South Beach Wine & Food Festival takes shape. Top flight chefs and wine experts will attract tens of thousand of visitors over the next four days.

John Losado is one of the vendors we found busily at work in final preparations for the big event. He told CBS4’s Michael Williams that the event is great for vendors.

“It gives you a lot of exposure, a lot of people coming from all over the world to this event,” Losado said.

That means more work for event coordinators like Karen Duarte.

“They need the manpower so it means a lot of work for people who at some point had a career change,” Duarte said.

This is the time of year when one event after another descends on South Florida—where the beaches and winter breezes remain a potent mix. Greater Miami tourism bosses said area hotels were at 96 percent occupancy for Presidents Day weekend, up 16 percent over last year.

Warm weather and a revving tourism engine. It is precisely the combination everyone hopes will slowly keep lifting South Florida out of the economic doldrums.


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