More than 4,000 people are expected to attend Coconut Point’s signature event Oct. 7. Taste of Coconut Point is a succulent celebration of all the mall has to offer.

“We’re going to make it more of a Coconut Point community event,” said the mall’s new marketing director, Tara Beauchesne. “I want families here. I want them to get a taste of Coconut Point — not just the restaurants. We’re getting more retailers involved.”

The party is planned for Columbus Day weekend and will take place in the parking lot behind the Hyatt Place hotel and in front of Barnes and Noble bookstore. Beauchesne hopes to create more of a festival feel with individual food and merchandise tents.

Live music will set the tone for a festive afternoon, and alcoholic beverages will be available. The event kicks off with the Estero High School Jazz band playing from 11:30 to noon. Naples party band CTO High Voltage will play throughout the event from noon to 4 p.m.

A children’s area will feature a host of fun activities for kids. Kid-friendly cuisine will include cool treats from Yogurt Mountain and Tropical Sno.

The new Olive Garden will join other popular restaurants, such as Hemmingway’s and South Fork Grille, providing sample-sized “tastes” for $1.00-$6.00 apiece.

“You can get everything from fries to cupcakes to a Ruth’s Chris burger, all in one area,” Beauchesne said.

Along with bites from more than 20 of the mall’s restaurants, guests also may sample offerings from beverage vendors like Teavana and Starbuck’s.

“There aren’t any other malls that have this amount of variety in restaurants,” Beauchesne noted.

A chef’s competition will be held the Tuesday before the event, with the winning restaurant to be announced at Taste around 3 p.m.

Non-food retailers also will be participating in the event, offering a sampling of the many novelties which may be found along Fashion Drive.

“You really can get a taste of everything we have at Coconut Point,” Beauchesne said.

Under Beauchesne’s direction, Coconut Point plans to start hosting more events than it has in the past. Santa will be making his first appearance at the mall this holiday season. Other events will be planned each month throughout the year.

The gates will open for Taste of Coconut Point at 11:30 a.m., with food service beginning at noon. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce.