Do you love Stock Island? You should, because the Florida Keys island that lies just across Cow Key Channel from Key West has a lot going for it — a cutting-edge cultural and culinary scene, seafaring heritage, contemporary waterfront lifestyle and unpretentious charm. And that’s what you can experience during the 2022 I Love Stock Island Festival, scheduled Wednesday through Sunday, June 15-19.
The colorful Father’s Day weekend festival features mouthwatering culinary events, art strolls, live music and plenty of fun for Dads and families. (Photo courtesy of I Love Stock Island)
The family-friendly Father’s Day weekend fest combines food and libation events, art strolls, “dad-focused” fun, live music and other events that showcase the island’s oceanside spirit and tight-knit community.
The heart of the Florida Keys commercial shrimping industry, Stock Island is defined by a rustic authenticity that flavors its colorful marinas, shops and galleries, working waterfront and popular bars and restaurants.
Stock Island’s unique heritage, by the way, dates back to an era far before the Keys attained their present-day fame. Local lore says the island’s Safe Harbor was a staging area for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and a ferry that once connected Key West and Havana departed from a dock across from the landmark Hogfish Bar and Grill.
Stock Island’s seaport roots are illustrated by the commercial shrimp boats tied up at its docks, and the sight of shrimpers offloading cargoes of sweet pink shrimp. The island’s marinas are also headquarters to world-class charter fishing captains and frequented by dedicated anglers.
And Stock Island also features two thriving waterfront resorts that host visitors eager to embrace the eclectic atmosphere. That atmosphere — and the community and its easygoing pleasures — await attendees at the I Love Stock Island Festival.
Stock Island’s funky authenticity and charm are evident in this signpost that welcomes patrons to the popular Hogfish Bar and Grill. (Photo by Michael Blades, courtesy of I Love Stock Island)
Among Wednesday’s attractions are a self-guided tour of Stock Island’s food trucks and a quirky “dad-off” competition followed by a “dive-in” movie (yes, really!) poolside at Oceans Edge Resort & Marina.
Shrimp lovers can satisfy their cravings at Thursday’s ShrimpStock, enjoying fresh local shrimp prepared in multiple mouthwatering ways, presented overlooking the water at The Perry Hotel.
Friday’s schedule includes the “Taste of Stock Island Food Tour,” a guided exploration of local cuisine beginning at 4 p.m. Traveling via trolley, guests stop at nine Stock Island restaurants and hotspots to savor small plates and beverage pairings (yum!). Plus, chefs and owners will be on hand to offer a hearty welcome.
Both Friday and Saturday, festivalgoers can stroll through the Stock Island Arts District — discovering talented local artists and artisans in their studios, as well as galleries featuring work in richly diverse mediums.
Saturday also brings a culinary and craft beer extravaganza that blends offerings from Cayo Hueso Brewing with a five-course feast from the talented chefs at Roostica Wood-Fire Pizzeria. And if you’re a music fan, check out the rhythms of “LiveStock on the Rock” at Sloppy Joe’s Dockside at The Perry Hotel.
Among Sunday’s highlights are Father’s Day yoga with Salute to the Sol at The Perry, a Father’s Day brunch, the final day of a family-fun fishing tournament and guided van tours spotlighting the unique history that underlies Stock Island’s appeal.
As enticing as those events are, the festival schedule also contains several other offerings. To check them all out, just click here. And once you experience them, you’ll realize why so many Florida Keys visitors are enthusiastically proclaiming, “I love Stock Island!”