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Marathon Seafood Festival, March 9-10, 2024

The Marathon Seafood Festival calls itself the Original Marathon Seafood Festival to emphasize it’s the real deal – indigenous and authentic.

The oldest seafood festival in the Keys, the Marathon event was founded in 1976 by commercial fishermen, and it’s the fishermen who catch and cook all of the seafood. Their wives bake the Key Lime pies and desserts, according to event coordinator Leah Luckin.

The event annually raises $75,000 that goes back into the community in charitable donations and scholarships for local Middle Keys students.

Chowing down for fresh seafood at the Marathon Seafood Festival.

The event, now the second most popular festival in the Keys after Key West Fantasy Fest, has grown to include live music, a fine art show, boat show, rides and games and booths selling products ranging seagrass hats to sculptures made from old lobster traps.

More than 200 vendors are expected.

Seafood, fresh off the boat, however, is the real reason to attend the two-day festival.

Traffic Note: Festival weekends in the Keys can be a test of patience. There is only one highway through the Keys, and traffic backups are common even on “quiet” weekends.

The most popular item is a Florida lobster dinner. More than 2,000 pounds of local spiny lobster is served. And it may be your last chance at the tasty crustaceans… lobster season ends on March 31.

The Keys are also prime harvest grounds for the stone crab, which you’ll find in ample supply at the festival.

Wine and beer, including local craft beers, will be served, as well as soft drinks, along with the usual seafood fest sides hush puppies, cole slaw and French fries, and, of course, Key Lime pie.

Visitors to Marathon Seafood Festival
Visitors to Marathon Seafood Festival show off their lunch


John Bartus & Adrienne Z
Saturday 11 a.m.

Led by singer/songwriters John Bartus and Adrienne Z, Jade Storm brings quite a variety of classic rock as well as John and Adrienne’s original songs from their CDs. Expect anything from quiet acoustic numbers to all-out rockers!
visit their website

The Lady “A” Blues Band
Saturday 1 p.m.

Lady A with her earthy blues vocal style and harmonica playing been heard all over Florida in the 80’s 90’s. She has now has returned to her beloved Florida Keys.

I-Land Vibe
Saturday 3 p.m.

There are many bands in S Florida that claim to be Reggae bands, because of the popularity of the Jamaican music form, but the members of I-Land Vibe prefers to think of the group as a Caribbean band since reggae is not the only music from in the islands.

The Marshall Morlock Band
Saturday 5 p.m.

One of Key West’s talented young performers, Marshall Morlock, performs with his three-piece band playing many past music hits and favorites. They will get you dancing!

Igor & The Red Elvises
Saturday 7 p.m. to close.

Evolving over the years, Igor’s music has been labeled “Siberian Surf Rock” which contains humorous lyrics and grooves that forces his audience to dance.

Brian Roberts
Sunday 11 a.m.

Brian performs over 300 gigs each year from Key West to Key Largo. Brian continues to write original songs, such as Semi-Tropical ReasonsBarefoot Balladeer, and All Of This Way, his music embodies a unique island-rock genre.

Rolando Rojas & Caribe
Sunday 1 p.m.

Get your salsa, merengue and hot movin’ music here! Rolando Rojas of Caribe is a local legend within the hispanic music industry.

AJ & Southern Stampede
Sunday 3 p.m. to close

Homestead’s young AJ Gaytan & Southern Stampede, a Texas Blues and soulful band, features originals plus covers.

Official web site: Marathon Seafood Festival. 

FAQ: Marathon Seafood Festival

Admission: $5 donation, children under 12 free. No pets.

Directions: Head south on the Overseas Highway to Mile Marker 49, the Marathon Community Park, 200 36th St., which is the ocean side of the road. If you get to the Seven Miles Bridge, then you’ve missed it.

There is some free parking around town, but your best bet may be schools and churches that charge for parking as a fund-raiser. Many offer shuttles. One site specifically listed by the festival is Stanley Switlik Elementary School, 3400 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050; bayside.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.  It gets crowded.  The earlier you get there the better, say the event organizers.

Don’t leave home without it: Overseas Highway Mile Marker Guide

Where to stay

The Marathon Seafood Festival occurs in peak season, so rooms will go for their highest rates of the year.

The most reasonably priced accommodations will be in 1950s-era mom-and-pop motels, which dot the Keys. While not luxurious, many retain a lot of Keys character.  

Vacation home rentals in Marathon have become extremely popular — and more available — in recent years.

Book a hotel room at

Book a vacation home at


Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor is popular with boaters mooring for the night while transiting the Keys.

Read this story: Marathon is the seagoing heart of the Florida Keys


Private RV Parks

Peak-season rates at these private parks vary and often exceed $150 per night, including sales and tourist taxes. *”Moderately priced by Keys standards” means nightly rates range between $120 and $200, but may exceed $200 with boat dockage and waterfront. Check individual campgrounds for current rates by clicking on links.

Big Pine Key RV Resort (formerly Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge), 33000 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key. Sites with and without hookups. Dockage. Moderately priced by Keys standards.

Coconut Cay RV Park and Marina, 7200 Aviation Blvd., Marathon. Behind the Marathon airport, this campground is still growing and now has houseboat rentals as well as motel rooms and RV sites with hookups. Phone: 305-289-1870.

Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina, 70001 Overseas Hwy, Layton. Huge RV resort with more than 300 sites. Expensive.

Grassy Key RV Park, 58671 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Phone: 305-289-1606. 34 sites. Moderately priced by Keys standards.

Jolly Roger RV Resort, 59275 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Phone: 305-289-0404. 130 sites. *Moderately priced by Keys standards.

Sun Outdoors RV Resort, 59151 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Phone: 305-289-0011. 95 sites. *Moderately priced by Keys standards.

Sunshine Key RV Resort, 38801 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key. Another massive RV park with more than 400 sites. Fully restored after getting wiped out by 2017 hurricane. Phone: (305) 872-2217. Expensive.

*”Moderately priced by Keys standards” means nightly rates range between $120 and $200, but may exceed $200 with boat dockage and waterfront.

State Parks with Camping

These state park campgrounds are $36 per night plus a $7 daily utility fee, and they are booked well in advance. While it’s possible to find last-minute cancellations, it’s a challenge.

Read More

Resources for your Keys vacation

Special places near Marathon

Read More: 2022-23 Florida Seafood Festival Calendar

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Brian Smith

Wednesday 15th of November 2017

The citizens of the Florida Keys need your support this year more than ever!! Most families survive on the fishing industries and/or hospitality trade!! It will take awhile for families to become whole again, So, book your reservations early for this incredible event. You won't be sorry...AND THE FOOD IS THE BEST!!

Brian & Mary Kate Smith Custom Coastal Furniture 305-283-3520


Saturday 25th of February 2017

The $5 fee, does that include the food as well?

Bonnie Gross

Sunday 26th of February 2017

No. It does not.

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