CK celebrates fishing heritage with Annual Seafood Festival

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Dueling banjos, chefs highlight of event

Special to the Beacon
The 41st Annual Cedar Key Seafood
Festival, sponsored by the Cedar Key
Lions Club,, which kicks off Saturday
morning with a parade, celebrates the
area's fishing heritage with two days of
seafood, music, and fun.
The festival's events are centered
around the fishing town's charming beachfront
City Park. It will be filled with
booths selling local seafood. Cedar Key
church groups, school clubs, non-profit
organizations, and oyster and clamming
associations will be serving up fresh
grouper sandwiches, oysters, clams, clam
fritters, crab cakes, smoked mullet, and all
the trimmings.
The festival will also feature over 200
arts and crafts exhibits, live music, and a
parade with a variety of vehicles on
Saturday morning.
On Sunday, Oct. 17 from 1 to 3 p.m., a
special musical culinary event will be held
in conjunction with the festival. Two of
Florida's celebrity chefs, Dean Max, executive
chef at 3030 Ocean Restaurant in
Fort Lauderdale, and Peter Stefani, owner
of the Island Room in Cedar Key, will do
culinary battle.
The dueling chefs, one from Florida’s
east coast and the other from the west, will
prepare their signature dishes with clams
from their local waters. Chef Max, who
was recently crowned "King of American
Seafood" at the Great American Seafood
Cook-off in New Orleans, will prepare
Sebastian Inlet Clams BBLT (bacon, basil,
lettuce, and tomato) using clams from the
Sebastian Inlet. Chef Stefani will use
Cedar Key-grown clams to prepare Clams
with Mustard Greens and House-Smoked
Tasso. Samples of each dish will be available
to the audience.
In addition to delicious gourmet food,
the audience will also be treated to music
by claw hammer banjo player Mark
Johnson, who will be teaming up with
Backwater, an Ocala-based bluegrass

is hosting an open house on
both days of the festival.
Seahorse Key is about three
miles west of Cedar Key. To
get there, visitors can take a
shuttle boat from City Marina.
The lighthouse is the oldest still
standing on Florida's West
Coast and is leased to the
University of Florida for use as
part of its Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory.
Visitors can explore the
lighthouse, look at the exhibits,
and wander the island, which is
part of the Cedar Keys
National Wildlife RefugeS
eahorse Key is famous for the
large colonies of herons,
egrets, ibises, and brown pelicans
that nest there every year.
For information, contact
Thelma McCain at 352-543-
5436 or visit