The taste bud–tempting outdoor feast is a top draw for seafood lovers and Florida Keys families. Now in its 47th year, the popular festival is one of the Keys’ largest with attendees gathering every March at the Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside.
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.
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, crab cakes, Cuban croquettes and fried Key West pink shrimp and oysters.
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 — Key lime pies, baked goods and cool smoothies — along with adult beverages including cold beer and frozen margaritas and daiquiris.
Over 220 merchant booths are to span the park displaying locally made 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.
Live daily music performances are to range from reggae to rock and blues, and even a special appearance by The Red Elvises, whose “Siberian Surf Rock” vibe is internationally recognized. The entertainment lineup can be found at marathonseafoodfestival.com/category/entertainment-lineup.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 per adult and free for children under age 12 when accompanied by a paying adult. At Sunday’s festival, retired and active military members are to be admitted free 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: marathonseafoodfestival.com
Marathon visitor information: fla-keys.com/marathon or 1-800-262-7284
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