MARATHON, Florida Keys — What started as a community event to bolster tourism business has, more than 30 years later, become one of the Middle Keys’ most anticipated and sumptuous weekends. The Original Marathon Seafood Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, features a feast of fish, shrimp, lobster and conch for tens of thousands of seafood lovers.
Indigenous seafood such as mahi-mahi, Florida lobster, succulent stone crab claws, plump pink shrimp and smoked fish are the anchoring attractions of the area’s local commercial fishing heritage. These local delicacies and more are to be available at Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway.
Foods prepared according to secret recipes highlight the annual munch-a-thon, and Keys chefs are to offer conch chowder, salad and fritters as well as fresh oysters, clams and fried local fish. Attendees should save room for sweets like Key lime pie, cakes, cool smoothies and icy treats to top off the seafood extravaganza.
Staple festival attractions include children’s games and more than 200 vendor booths with a variety of wares created by artists and craftspeople, nautical items, tropically themed clothing and apparel, plants and flowers, boats and watersports gear.
Among the weekend’s scheduled entertainers are headliner and country music favorite Amber Leigh, slated to perform Sunday, as well as other popular Keys entertainers.
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. Children under 12 accompanied by a paying adult are admitted free.
The festival is co-sponsored by the Marathon Chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida and the Marathon Chamber of Commerce. As in the past, proceeds benefit local scholarship programs.
Event information: www.marathonseafoodfestival.com or 305-743-5417
Marathon visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/marathon or 1-800-262-7284
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