Fresh shrimp, fish and lobster are headlining the food tents at the 2018 Original Marathon Seafood Festival, and the equally delicious musical lineup is to include Latin sensation Tito Puente Jr.
With a more-than-40-year tradition as an affordable foodie fair, the outdoor event is staged at the Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside. 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.
Seafood lovers can line up for generous plates prepared by local fishermen-turned-chefs according to Keys-based recipes. Offerings include mahi-mahi (dorado), Key West pink shrimp, spiny lobster, stone crab claws and crackers piled high with smoked fish dip, a Florida Keys favorite.
Conch is served up as ceviche, chowder, golden-fried fritters or bun-hugging “konkwurst” sausages.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages with sides of baked beans, cole slaw, hush puppies and French fries also are on the menu, as are the Key lime pies, baked goods and cakes, cool smoothies and icy treats.
Local fisheries and markets catch, clean and cook the feast, comprising nearly 15,000 pounds of fresh seafood that also involves preparing bushels of oysters and bags of clams from the west coast of Florida. Fishermen and their wives are involved each year alongside scores of community volunteers.
Live music performances are slated all weekend in genres ranging from reggae and calypso to trop rock, country, folk and groove. A complete entertainment lineup is posted at marathonseafoodfestival.com.
Other attractions at the family-friendly event include a boat show, prizes and a raffle giveaway featuring items including a fully stocked cooler of fresh Keys seafood.
Children’s games and more than 200 booths are to dot the park. The variety of wares is to include nautical items, tropical apparel and accessories, plants, flowers, boats, watersports opportunities and information from Keys organizations.
Traditionally a fundraiser for local scholarship programs, the festival to date has contributed nearly $80,000 in scholarships for Marathon High School students through the Marathon chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida, a statewide group that represents the interests and well-being of the commercial fishing industries. Co-sponsored by the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce, the seafood fest also helps fund members’ continuing-education opportunities.