shrimp copyKEY WEST, Florida Keys — Creative cuisine, premium wines and unique events in a subtropical island setting are to characterize the third annual Key West Food and Wine Festival, set for Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 26-29.

Indoor and outdoor events showcase local chefs’ culinary flair and favorite indigenous ingredients while offering “only in the Keys” experiences.

Attendees can whet their appetites at a barefoot evening beach party Thursday, Jan. 26. Island cuisine, wine and music are planned, but footwear is forbidden at this oceanfront occasion at the Southernmost Beach Café, 1405 Duval St.

Subsequent festival highlights include Turtles and Sharks and Mermaids, Oh My!, a grand tasting among the undersea denizens at the Key West Aquarium, 1 Whitehead St. Surrounded by live “seafood,” guests can sample fine vintages and offerings from land and sea while enjoying entertainment by “sirens” from Fancy Pants Entertainment. The aquatic affair is set for 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 — and guests might even get to pet a shark.

Yellowtail copySaturday evening, Key West’s renowned Duval Street is to become an appetizing avenue during Duval Uncorked. The mile-long stroll between the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean features a feast for the senses from more than 40 participating restaurants, bars, galleries and boutiques.

Florida Keys seafood stars at two festival favorites: a traditional Key West shrimp boil Saturday afternoon at the Hogfish Bar & Grill beside the shrimp docks and Sunday’s Seafood Shakedown culinary competition spotlighting the Keys’ pink shrimp and other bounty of the sea.

The festival also includes “wine around” explorations showcasing foods and libations in Key West’s Bahama Village, Historic Seaport and other neighborhoods. Additional events include an outdoor wine market, a goofy “coconut bowling” tournament and coconut recipe contest, food and wine seminars, the 18th annual Master Chef’s Classic and more.

VIP passes are available covering admission to multiple events, or attendees can purchase tickets for individual events.

Festival information: www.keywestfoodandwinefestival.com

Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY

Social: facebook.com/floridakeysandkeywesttwitter.com/thefloridakeysYouTube.com/FloridaKeysTV

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