The Cedar Key 48th Annual Seafood Festival was held October 21 & 22. This year’s festival was well attended. The weather was beautiful and Second Street and the City Park was full of visitors and locals enjoying the festival and the day in Cedar Key.
The ribbon cutting for the Big Bend Shellfish Trail was held on Saturday. The Big Bend Shellfish Trail and map was designed to promote tourism and show off the features of the Big Bend area. Maps can be obtained at the Cedar Key Visitor Center.
When festival-goers were asked what they liked about the festival, the number one answer was the food. When it came to food, there was plenty and plenty variety. Of course, there was seafood in many varieties: clam dinner bowl, New England style clam chowder, Minorcan clam chowder, smoked mullet dip, corn on the cob and the list goes on.
The Seafood Festival was not short on Arts and Crafts either. There were carved wooden items, paintings on wood and wooden toys. Carl Busse of Santa’s Hardwood Toy Shop says he will be going out of business. He will be at one more festival. He said there used to two toy makers and now there will not be any. Handmade jewelry abounded. One vendor Talpole Designer Coin Jewelry makes her jewelry out of old coins. Tabitha Lauer, the artist and owner, said, “We’ve moved to Cedar Key.” Her and her husband were here last year and really liked Cedar Key and decided to move. Vendors presented paintings and photos of everything imaginable, lots of soaps and lotions, a myriad of sauces and spices, honey, stained glass pieces and butterflies made from 2-litre plastic bottles.
Patty Jett from the Cedar Key Art Center had set up a painting studio for the children at the festival. Jett said, “We used to set up specific crafts with directions. Now, we just give the kids a brush and paint and they like it better.” Jett explained that the Art Center has a fund-raising dinner, usually in December to raise the money to provide for this painting at the festival and a two-week summer program.
The young people at the festival proved to be quite enterprising. The CK Elementary Safety Patrol was selling cold water to raise funds for a trip to Washington, DC. Well, I guess the stand wasn’t selling enough water to make the Safety Patrol happy. So, they took the show on the road. They put a container with ice and water in a wagon and pulled it up and down the street. They also invented a cheer which ended with, “Help us…get to…Washington…DC!”
Some other reasons festival-goes gave for attending were: “I just like Cedar Key.” “There is always something different” and “All the people are so nice.” There are many things that make the Cedar Key Seafood Festival stand out from other festivals in the area. It is all these things along with the hard work to organize and the efficiency with which the festival is run that will keep the locals, tourists and venders returning to the CK Seafood festival.