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The largest dessert festival in America is coming to Tampa in February

He created Dessert Wars because he wanted to his sugar-loving peers and share the intricate world of sweets with the masses. Matthews held his first Dessert Wars competition in 2016 in Miami with 32 vendors. He says it was so new at the time people didn’t quite understand the concept.

“I looked around and there wasn’t anything else like it. I recruited, told people my vision, and I knew it would benefit them the most. They’re being put in front of their direct audience: dessert lovers,” Matthews tells CL.

Dessert Wars is a family-friendly competition between 50 local vendors including Astro Ice Cream, Cookie Munchers, and Jupiter Donuts. Participants compete in front of a group of 8 judges, where they’re judged on a variety of categories. According to Matthews, in order to be as accurate as possible, the judges have to eat all 50 entries.  No cash prize but two winners are chosen as People’s Choice Champion and Judge’s Champion.

“We try to get a variety of things: ice cream, cookies, pies, cupcakes. Vendors come up with the craziest concoctions that even surprise us,” he says.

Limited general admission tickets are still available for $35 per person, through dessert-wars.com. VIP ticket holders can start sampling all the desserts at 3 p.m., everyone else can arrive at 4 p.m. Attendees receive a go-box to take home a few of their favorite treats.

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