KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Melted butter is optional, but a craving for crustaceans is mandatory at the 25th annual Key West Lobsterfest scheduled Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 11-14. The festival salutes the Aug. 6 start of the Florida Keys lobster season with events that include an open-air lobster feast on Key West’s famed Duval Street.
Florida lobsters, sometimes called spiny lobsters, are known for their sweet, tender meat. Unlike their northern cousins, the spikey specimens have no claws.
Purists savor them steamed, with each bite dipped in melted butter. They also can be baked and stuffed, served cold in salads or incorporated into dishes ranging from bisques to fritters.
The festival’s enticing “entrée” is the Key West Lobsterfest Street Fair, set for noon through 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, in the 100 through 500 blocks of Duval. Admission is free.
Lobster lovers can purchase dishes ranging from tempting appetizers to traditional lobster dinners with all the trimmings, all prepared by chefs from local restaurants using crustaceans caught by Florida Keys fishermen.
Attendees also can browse and buy art, crafts and merchandise from dozens of on-site vendors, as well as a wide range of libations.
A free outdoor concert is to begin at 1 p.m. and continue until 10:30 p.m. to entertain lobster-loving attendees. From a stage at the intersection of Duval and Greene streets performers including the Durtbags are to rock the block.
Other festival highlights include a kick-off lobster boil slated for 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, in the courtyard of the Historic Porter Mansion at the corner of Duval and Caroline streets. Lobster aficionados can savor their favorite paired with shrimp, andouille sausage, corn on the cob and redskin potatoes while watching a Key West sunset. Space is limited and reservations are required.
The Lobsterfest schedule also features an exclusive five-course lobster dinner overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, pool parties, Friday night’s Duval Pub Crawl and a mouthwatering lobster brunch Sunday, Aug. 14.
The crustacean celebration benefits a scholarship fund for Key West High School students.
Event, reservation and ticketing information: keywestlobsterfest.com
Lobster lovers can purchase dishes ranging from tempting appetizers and sandwiches to traditional lobster dinners with all the trimmings.