Marathon, Florida Keys,
21:41 PM

Navy F-5s to Perform Jet Flyover March 9 at Marathon Seafood Festival

Two U.S. Navy F-5N Tiger II jets from Fighter Squadron Composite VFC-111, known as the “Sun Downers,” are to perform a flyover at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 9, during the first day of the Original Marathon Seafood Festival. VFC-111 is the Navy’s premier adversary squadron based at Naval Air Station Key West on Boca Chica Key.

The outdoor “feast fest,” a top draw for seafood lovers and Florida Keys families, is now in its 48th year. The festival is one of the Keys’ largest and takes place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 9, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside.

Preceding the flyover, a military tribute is planned with the presentation of colors at 12:45 p.m. followed by the singing of the national anthem. 

Representing the might of the U.S. military and the Navy’s more than 200-year presence in the Florida Keys, the flyover is likely to capture the crowds’ full attention as the supersonic, aerodynamic fighter jets thunder overhead.

Equally attention-getting is the menu of local shrimp, lobster, stone crab and other favorites. Marathon-area commercial fisheries and markets catch, clean and cook the nearly 15,000-pound spread of fresh Keys seafood and tasty smoked fish dip prepared according to safeguarded “only-in-the-Keys” recipes and served at the festival.

Fishermen-turned-chefs, their families and hundreds of volunteers serve up the tasty favorites with sides of baked beans, coleslaw, hush puppies or french fries. Attendees also can chow down on other succulent items such as fish tacos, oysters, crab cakes, Cuban croquetas and more.

Although it’s not harvested in the Keys, conch is dished up as ceviche, chowder and golden-fried fritters. Hot dogs and hamburgers are to be available too, as are sweet treats — homemade Key lime pies and other baked goods — along with adult beverages including cold beer, frozen margaritas and daiquiris.

Over 200 merchant booths are to span the park displaying locally crafted spices, honey, salt scrubs and soaps; jewelry and artwork; nautical items; tropical apparel and accessories; plants, home and outdoor décor; and information about Keys nonprofit, marine animal and rescue organizations. Other attractions include a boat show, children's games and raffle prizes.

Daily live music performances are to include reggae, trop rock, blues, country and high-energy rock and roll. An appearance by The Red Elvises, with a “Siberian Surf Rock” vibe, is guaranteed to get everyone up and dancing. The entertainment lineup can be found at

Admission is $5 per adult and free for children under age 12 when accompanied by a paying adult. As it is each year, admission Sunday is free for retired and active military members and law enforcement personnel with identification.

Proceeds benefit local continuing-education programs and scholarships presented by the Marathon chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida and the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce.

Event information:



Marathon visitor information: or 1-800-262-7284

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