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Taste of Rockport-Fulton back after canceling due to COVID in 2020. Here's how you can enjoy fine dining while providing students with scholarships.

Instead of one night with a bunch of restaurants in one place, the event has been stretched out for a whole month.

ROCKPORT, Texas — The annual taste of Rockport-Fulton is back!  You might remember that culinary event was canceled last year because of COVID-19. 

The event will still be providing scholarships to students, but it will be a bit different this time around. 

Instead of one night with a bunch of restaurants in one place, the event has been stretched out for a whole month.

At Latitude Coastal Cuisine, customers are already doing their part to give back to area students, all while experiencing some fine dining. 

The restaurant is one of many that are taking part in the community's restaurant weeks. 

It's a collaborative effort between the Chamber of Commerce and the Rockport-Fulton Rotary Club. 

RELATED: A look at the education gap forced by the pandemic for students with Autism

"In the last 19 years we've given over $300,000 dollar's worth of scholarships," said Terri Whitman who is the Taste of Rockport Chair. 

This year's goal is $10,000 dollars.

Look for QR codes on your table to donate. 

There is also an added incentive to help draw folks in.  There is a $2,000 mystery box full of items up for grabs simply by playing Restaurant Bingo. 

From now until April 30, simply stop in to eat or carry out at any of the participating restaurants and pick up a Bingo card. 

Visit a minimum of 10 different restaurants and have them sign your card. 

Once it's completed, turn your card in at the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center at 319 Broadway St. in Rockport before 5 p.m. April 30. 

Organizers say it's all about giving back. 

"You go to the restaurant, you eat, and you enjoy the great fresh seafood, and maybe you will donate to the scholarships, but at the same time you are supporting those restaurants," said Diane Probst, President/CEO of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. 

It's a win-win for restaurant owners who have recently struggled.  Folks like Samantha McCrary at Mermaid's Kitchen. 

"First we got smacked by Hurricane Harvey and half of us lost our buildings," said Samantha McCary at Mermaid's Kitchen. 

The 2017 natural disaster was followed by the COVID-19 pandemic two years later. 

"We got to be open for 7 nights before they shut us down for COVID," said McCary. 

"If I had a lease to pay or a payment on the building, there's no way we would have survived it," said McCary. 

Organizers chose the month of April for the event because traffic usually slows down right about now. 

"Now that the governor has opened the state, we feel like it's the perfect time," said Whitman. 

Restaurant weeks continues until the end of the month.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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