KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Lobster lovers can savor the sensational Florida crustacean during the 26th annual Key West Lobsterfest, scheduled Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 10-13. The festival commemorates the Aug. 6 start of the Florida Keys lobster season with a tasty “menu” of events highlighted by an open-air lobster feast on the island’s famed Duval Street.
Known as spiny lobsters, the clawless crustaceans found in Keys waters offer sweet and tender meat. Lobster is often served steamed with drawn butter, baked and stuffed, in creamy bisque or cold in savory salads.
The flavorful festival kicks off Thursday evening, Aug. 10, with a lavish lobster boil at Caroline’s Café in the courtyard of Key West’s historic Porter Mansion, 429 Caroline St. The dinner also includes jumbo local shrimp, fresh corn on the cob and redskin potatoes. Live entertainment and libation specials are to round out the evening’s action.
Fans can sample lobster dishes of all sorts at the Key West Lobsterfest Street Fair, a free-admission extravaganza set for noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, in the 100 through 500 blocks of Duval Street.
During the enticing festival “entrée,” local restaurants and bars are to sell fresh Florida lobster dishes as well as other food and drink offerings from streetside booths. Lobster specialties typically range from tempting appetizers to traditional dinners with all the trimmings — all prepared using fresh crustaceans caught by Florida Keys lobster fishermen.
In addition, attendees can browse and buy enticing arts, crafts and merchandise from several dozen vendors.
A free outdoor concert is slated for 1-11 p.m. with regional favorites Just George, Fried Newt and The Durtbags performing from a stage at the intersection of Duval and Greene streets.
Other Lobsterfest events include a pool party and pub crawl, both set for Friday, Aug. 11; and a mouthwatering lobster brunch Sunday, Aug. 13. Festivities are to conclude Sunday with a 1-4 p.m. pool party and lobster boil at the Southernmost Beach Resort, 1319 Duval St.
The festival benefits a scholarship fund for Key West High School students.
Event information and ticketing: keywestlobsterfest.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY