07 November 2018
STOCK ISLAND, Florida Keys — Vibrant arts emporiums, a fast-growing culinary scene and a colorful working waterfront characterize Stock Island, the Florida Keys community that lies just outside Key West. Visitors can explore the eclectic island, headquarters of the Florida Keys’ commercial shrimping industry, during the I Love Stock Island Festival set for Friday through Sunday, Dec. 7-9.
Festival attendees can celebrate Stock Island’s culture and heritage, lively marinas and waterfront eateries while enjoying fresh-off-the-boat seafood and other island cuisine, history and art studio tours, live music, a bicycle trek, a day of family fun and even a lighted holiday boat parade.
Friday’s highlights include the Taste of Stock Island, a “moveable feast” scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Foodies travel by trolley between local restaurants, sampling small plates and beverages at each flavorful stop.
Friday also features a preholiday happening: the annual Stock Island Lighted Boat Parade beginning at 7 p.m. Participating vessels range from dinghies and schooners to local shrimpboats, decked out with holiday lights and decorations, staging a festive journey through community marinas. A preparade happy hour and post-parade parties at local hotspots round out the festivities. 
Saturday’s centerpiece is “Discover Stock Island,” a daylong family-friendly event headquartered at the new Bernstein Park at 6751 5th St. Attractions are to include live music, food trucks, vendors’ wares, activities for kids, a Little Mr. & Miss Stock Island Contest and the seafaring-themed Stock Island Olympics. Attendees can even taste samples of roast pork and vote for their favorite in the Cuban Pig Roast Chinabox Challenge.
Saturday’s schedule also features a 5k walk/run and free trolley tours of local businesses, restaurants and galleries with “treasure” prizes.
Among Sunday’s highlights are a guided history tour by bicycle or van, a Stock Island art studio “open house” stroll and a traditional Florida Keys shrimp boil.
The festival schedule also includes food truck finds, brunches at Stock Island restaurants, values on watersports excursions and a Sunday “animal farm” experience for families.
Event information: ILoveStockIsland.org
Lower Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com/lowerkeys or 1-800-872-3722
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