MARATHON, Florida Keys — Fresh seafood is on the menu for attendees at the Original Marathon Seafood Festival, scheduled Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, and featuring local shrimp, lobster and stone crab alongside a variety of fresh “fishermen-to-fork” menu favorites.
The outdoor “feast fest” is a top draw for seafood lovers and Florida Keys families. Now in its 48th year, the popular festival is one of the Keys’ largest and takes place each March at the Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside.
Marathon-area commercial fisheries and markets catch, clean and cook the nearly 15,000-pound spread of fresh Keys seafood and tasty smoked fish dip prepared according to safeguarded “only-in-the-Keys” recipes.
Fishermen-turned-chefs, their families and hundreds of volunteers serve up the tasty favorites with sides of baked beans, coleslaw, hush puppies or french fries. Attendees also can chow down on other succulent items such as fish tacos, oysters, crab cakes, Cuban croquetas and more.
Although it’s not harvested in the Keys, conch is dished up as ceviche, chowder and golden-fried fritters. Hot dogs and hamburgers are to be available too, as are sweet treats — homemade Key lime pies and other baked goods — along with adult beverages including cold beer, frozen margaritas and daiquiris.
Over 200 merchant booths are to span the park displaying locally crafted spices, honey, salt scrubs and soaps; jewelry and artwork; nautical items; tropical apparel and accessories; plants, home and outdoor décor; and information about Keys nonprofit, marine animal and rescue organizations. Other attractions include a boat show, children's games and raffle prizes.
Daily live music performances are to include reggae, trop rock, blues, country and high-energy rock and roll. An appearance by The Red Elvises, with a “Siberian Surf Rock” vibe, is guaranteed to get everyone up and dancing. The entertainment lineup can be found at marathonseafoodfestival.com/category/entertainment-lineup.
Sunday brings the festival’s annual military tribute at 1 p.m., with a color guard procession and the singing of the national anthem.
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. Admission Sunday is free for retired and active military members with identification.
Proceeds benefit local continuing-education programs and scholarships presented by the Marathon chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida and the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce.
Event information: marathonseafoodfestival.com
Attendance line up for plates of fresh fishermen-to-fork seafood favorites at the annual Marathon Seafood Festival. Photos by JoNell Modys
Marathon-area commercial fishermen catch, clean and cook the nearly 15,000-pound spread of fresh Keys seafood served each year at the popular festival.
In addition to the seafood, attendees can browse goods and services offered by over 200 vendors and listen to a great lineup of live music.