18 September 2018
MARATHON, Florida Keys — Jumpstarting the Florida Keys’ seven-month stone crab harvest season is a much-anticipated munch-a-thon — the eighth annual Stone Crab Claw Eating Contest for amateur eaters set for Saturday, Nov. 10, in Marathon.  
Staged at Keys Fisheries Market and Marina, located at 35th Street gulfside, the lively consumption competition is scheduled to begin at noon. Entrants must register and be present by 11 a.m. the day of the event. 
The individual entry fee is $50 and two-person teams can register for $100.Contestants must be at least 18 years of age. Interested eaters are encouraged to register early to ensure their bib-wearing spot at the table. 
To win, contestants must crack, clean and eat 25 stone crab claws in the fastest time. Although they are provided with shell crackers, entrants can gently smack the shell with the back of a large spoon — an effective method employed by many Keys locals.
In case of a draw, finalists must face off in a 10-claw tie-breaker to determine the winner. 
Prizes including overnight stays and passes to area attractions and eateries are to be awarded to the individual first- through third-place winners as well as top teams. Proceeds from the team event are to benefit a Marathon-based charity. 
Stone crab season runs from Oct. 15 to May 15. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of stone crab claws are steamed, cracked and served at local markets, restaurants and transported around the nation. 
The Keys are Florida's top supplier of the succulent crustacean, which is considered a renewable resource because of the crabs’ ability to regrow harvested claws. 
Event and registration information: keysfisheries.com
Marathon visitor information: fla-keys.com/marathonor 1-800-262-7284
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