By Lisa Petrillo

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Upwards of 65,000 guests are expected to attend the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival this year.

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It’s five days total packed with nearly 100 events, some beachside, showing off South Beach’s famous views.

Its 16th year kicked off Wednesday evening at the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale with Seaside Eats.

“Ninty-four events, not to mention our tribute dinner on Saturday night honoring Jose Andres and the family from Cristal Champagne, so a really special year for us,” said Lee Schrager, founder of the SOBE Wine and Food Festival.

But tonight their back to the beach and taking on Italian flavors at Barilla’s Italian Bites on the Beach.

The event was hosted by chefs Alex Guarnaschelli and Valerie Bertinelli.

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“It’s just so much fun. And all these chefs that are so amazing and work so hard and are really able to show off what they do,” Bertinelli said.

Some of the guests feasted on pasta, meatballs, cheese, everything under the Italian sun. A total of 36 restaurants from across the country participated in the event.

Friday evening, foodies will be able to bite into something juicy for one of their yearly favorites – the beachside Burger Bash. The event, going into its 11th year, will be hosted by Rachael Ray as various restaurants compete to find out which one of their burgers reigns supreme.

Going into the weekend, the festival’s iconic white tents will also be home to more than 50 restaurants looking to share delicious bites with hungry foodies at the Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village on Saturday and Sunday. Attendees can munch on food while enjoying a side of music.

Those looking to enjoy the events at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival until February 26th can get tickets online or over the phone.

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All proceeds from the festival benefit the students of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management who help out festival organizers. To date, the festival has raised more than $24 million for the school.

Lisa Petrillo