Enjoy music, food, art and more at this year’s Island Fest

Island Fest returns to Islamorada on March 24 and 25, featuring a juried art show, live music, great food, classic cars and much more. The annual Islamorada Chamber of Commerce fundraiser, now in its 27th year, will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at Founders Park, mile marker 87 bayside.

The arts and crafts show will feature approximately 100 artists whose works include everything from paintings and sculptures to jewelry, fine crafts and green market items.

Honored as the Island Fest poster artist this year is local artist Anne Schroeder. Anne is well known for her feather art that is hand-crafted with naturally-shed exotic bird feathers and often mounted on old Florida charts and maps. This year’s poster entitled “Hog Wild” is a colorful painting of a hog fish on an antique map showing Lower Matecumbe and Indian Key.

Great food is also a mainstay during both days of Island Fest. The highlight will come Sunday at noon when the “Taste of Islamorada” competition brings out top local restaurants to show off their most mouthwatering dishes. Attendees will get to cast their ballot for the coveted People’s Choice Award. The awards ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Back at Island Fest this year is the All-American Road Vintage Cruisers Car Show, featuring antique cars, trucks, motorcycles and rat rods. The show will be visible from US-1, Florida’s only official “All American Road,” so passersby with an interest in antique and unique cars are likely to stop for a look. Awards will be presented for Coolest Cruiser, Raddest Rod, KeyZ Rider, Longest Haul, Big Kahuna, Funkiest Foreign, Best of Show and People’s Choice. New entrants are always encouraged.

An array of popular musical acts appealing to lovers of numerous genres will perform throughout festival. Among the performers will be Miami’s Pit Bull of Blues and Islamorada singer/songwriter Leah Sutter, whose melodic voice is a can’t-miss. New to this year’s event will be the Saturday evening Beach Sunset Party and Concert featuring the music of the Coconut Cowboys.

Island Fest offers lots of activities for kids as well. Children and child-like adults can help paint a life-sized dolphin statue, build sand castles and compete in hula hoop contests. In addition, teams will venture to the beach on Saturday, where they will compete to construct the best sand mermaid sculpture.

Also on the show’s first day is the “What Floats Your Boat?” homemade boat race. Participants will create a “boat” to enter in the race, which will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. There is no entry fee and the Chamber of Commerce is currently seeking entries. Winners will be declared for the Yachtiest Award, Thriftiest Award, Anchor Award, Krazy Krewe Award and Sink and Swim Award.

The big winner will be presented with the Lucky Ducky Admiral Award. This year for the first time the Chamber will introduce a kids division of the race - What Floaties Your Boat. Teams can enter with their favorite swimming pool float creating colorful fun for participants 11 and under.

Admission to Island Fest is free and on-site parking is available for a $5 donation.. Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets for a comfortable fun-filled day. Events will take place rain or shine. For more information, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at (305) 664-4503.