Islamorada, Florida Keys,
19:38 PM

Island Fest to Celebrate Spring in Islamorada March 23-24

Visitors and residents in the Upper Florida Keys can head outdoors to enjoy balmy subtropical weather, live music, art, food and fun at the 32nd annual Island Fest. The weekend-long springtime event is slated for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, at Founders Park, mile marker 87 bayside in Islamorada.

The two-day event includes a juried arts and crafts show, sand sculpture competition, the “What Floats Your Boat” homemade boat race, live music, classic cars and the popular “Taste of Islamorada” restaurant competition.

The arts and crafts show is to feature over 100 creative spirits whose work includes paintings and sculptures, jewelry, fine crafts and more. The Best of Show artist and Most Creative Artisan are to be selected Saturday after independent judging.

In addition to admiring the creations on display, attendees can purchase works that vary in price range and style. This year’s Island Fest poster artist is Upper Keys resident Carmen Sotolongo Kelley, whose “Flamboyant Royals” painting of royal poinciana trees was printed as a commemorative poster. It is to be available for purchase at the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce booth, with Kelley on hand at booth 1 to sign the posters.

Popular musical acts are scheduled to perform throughout the weekend, appealing to lovers of reggae, beach tunes, classic rock, Cuban folk, blues, southern rock and other genres. Miami’s Josh Rowland and the Pit Bull of Blues Band are to perform at noon Sunday while local artist Pasta Pantaleo paints on stage to the rhythm of the blues.

Also Sunday, attendees can savor the culmination of Keys culinary talent during the annual Taste of Islamorada, a competition showcasing local restaurants’ dishes. Tasting and voting begins at noon, with the awards ceremony at 4 p.m.

Kids can enter the “What Floaties Your Boat” blowup float race Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The wacky homemade “boat race” for adults is scheduled at 1 p.m., with entrants bringing unique watercraft creations and hoping they’ll float.

Kids also can paint a life-sized dolphin statue, compete in a hula hoop contest and build sand sculptures. Teams can compete Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to create their favorite “ocean wonders” out of colorful sand on the beach.

The All-American Road Vintage Cruisers Car Show is to feature cars, trucks, motorcycles and rat rods. Plans call for the weekend show to be visible from the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, an officially designated All-American Road, so passersby with an interest in unique vehicles can stop and check out the event. Awards are to be presented for the Coolest Cruiser, Raddest Rod, KeyZ Rider, Longest Haul, Big Kahuna, Funkiest Foreign, Best of Show and People's Choice vehicles.

Admission to Island Fest is free and on-site parking is available for a $5 donation. Organizers suggest attendees bring lawn chairs and blankets to maximize enjoyment of a full day’s activities. Events are to take place rain or shine.

Event information: or 305-664-4503



Islamorada visitor information: or 1-800-FAB-KEYS

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