Marathon's sumptuous signature food fair, the Original Marathon Seafood Festival, is set for Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, serving up an ocean-lovers feast of indigenous seafood including fish, shrimp, lobster and stone crabs.
Each year, tens of thousands of seafood fans descend on the popular Middle Keys venue at Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside. The menu includes mahi-mahi, smoked fish and conch served three ways: ceviche style, cracked or in fritters fried to golden perfection.
The family-focused weekend attraction is a fundraiser for local scholarship programs, but at its core it celebrates the areas commercial fishing heritage.
Foods are prepared according to secret recipes and Keys chefs offer up their best interpretations of conch chowders, side salads and local fish for bragging rights at the annual munch-a-thon.
Attendees should save room for dessert at the festivals sweets booth, an extravaganza of locally crafted fresh Key lime pies, baked goods, cakes, cool smoothies and icy treats.
Children's games and more than 200 vendor booths dot the park. Attractions include a variety of wares created by artists and craftspeople, nautical items, tropically themed clothing and apparel, plants and flowers, boats and water sports paraphernalia.
Popular Keys entertainers are to perform, as is headliner and country music favorite Amber Leigh. Leigh is scheduled to take the stage Sunday immediately following a 1 p.m. national anthem and military salute that includes a flyover of two F-18 fighter jets from Boca Chica Naval Air Station Key West.
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 12 when accompanied by a paying adult.
The festival is co-sponsored by the Marathon Chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida and the Marathon Chamber of Commerce.
Event information: www.marathonseafoodfestival.com
Marathon visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/marathon or 1-800-262-7284
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