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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

A Seafood Celebration

~Saturday, March 11, 2023~

Day 1,001

It’s another seafood festival day in Florida. This time, it’s the Marathon Seafood Festival which prides itself on being the oldest seafood festival in The Keys providing indigenous and authentic cuisine. Founded in 1976 by commercial fishermen, the event supports local charities and scholarships for Middle Keys students. We’re in!

First was the question of bringing the bikes or just driving. The last festival we went to in Everglade City, we brought our bikes with us knowing parking was really an issue. But since this festival is right on Highway 1, with more options to park, we decided it better to just drive. Much of the information we read online recommended we park at the Stanley Switlik Elementary School, where your $10 charitable parking fee goes right to the classrooms. It was the right choice and only a 10-minute walk to the event.

We arrived around 1:00 p.m. to the sound of lively music and delicious smells. Before actually getting into the festival gate, there was a small boat show with about 7 or 8 fancy fishing boats begging to be purchased and they were gorgeous. Prices ranged from $180,000 to nearly $400,000.

Function and luxury all-in-one! Once inside the gates, our first mission was to quench our thirst with some local beer. Well, there WAS local beer to be had, but we didn’t see it until after we’d already purchased our Budweisers. Note to self…..walk the whole festival first to scout out the best stuff.

Jeff couldn’t have been more thrilled to find an Islamorada beer booth about an hour into the festival. An $8 cup gave you $4 refills.

What a deal! It looks like we’ll have to visit the actual brewery while we’re in the Keys.

The music selection was excellent and a great backdrop to the day’s events. Lady A (not to be confused with Lady Antebellum), had some real girl power with a talented bluesy, earthy styled vocalist and an amazing bass player. They were followed by a Caribbean/Reggae band called I-Land Vibe. The musicians were super talented and the lead singer really knew how to get an overheated crowd going, leading everyone in a little conga. The line sure grew in a matter of minutes.

The fresh-caught local seafood looked amazing. Being a huge fish lover, I had the Red Snapper fish tacos which were oh so delicious and Jeff tried the grilled sausage and onion sandwich, also very good and only $5 bucks. With over 220 vendors selling anything from jewelry to spas, it sure kept these festival goers busy. Since I’m short on attire of the tropical vibe, I decided to purchase an adorable purple, partially crocheted mini dress. With no relief from the sun all afternoon, except from the shade of our hats, we were ready to head back to the campground. That intense Florida sun really does wear you out!

It was nice to just relax once we got back to the campsite. I worked on some video editing from the day’s events while Jeff enjoyed some light reading until it was sunset time. With a light tropical concoction, we headed back to Tiki Island with a much different view than last night…..choppy waters and wind. The few billowy clouds on the horizon gave the sunset some added interest.

But we didn’t quite linger as long as last night. As soon as we got inside the shelter of the campground, the wind quickly turned to a light breeze.

Neither of us really felt like cooking (I know, a rarity). So tonight’s dinner would just be a quick and delicious spinach salad with egg, bacon (for Jeff), sliced mandarin oranges, pecans, caramelized onion, tomato, grilled zucchini and my dressing with a hint of balsamic, olive oil, dijon mustard and a little salt & pepper. Simple, but scrumptious! But while doing dishes, it was back to water troubles, again. And we had just switched over from our freshwater tank to city water earlier this morning (we were waiting to empty the 40 gallons we filled when we got here). So now since the water pressure from our freshwater tank is better than being connected to city water, we’ll fill up again. It was about an hour later, with a staff member shutting down the laundry room, that we realized it was a water main issue again. I think the lady at the front desk had it right when she said The Keys is in for a long haul of water troubles.

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