One very special day each year the historic Deering Estate at Cutler is transformed into a magical island with calypso rhythms, colorfully costumed dancers and mountains of Florida’s freshest fish and seafood. The family-friendly celebration begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 27, when the seventh annual Deering Seafood Festival opens its doors to the intoxicating sounds of steel drums and towering stilt walkers greeting each guest.
Under the big top tent, Dean Max (3030 Ocean), who was recently crowned the King of American Seafood, heads the local celebrity chef cooking demonstrations. Chef Jouvens Jean (SAWA Village of Merrick Park), Chef Sean Bernal (Sushi Samba) and from the Bahamas, Chef Tricia Ferguson (co-author of Lionfish Cookbook), join him and share their unique recipes, and prepare delectable samples of seafood dishes for the cooking enthusiasts. Johnson & Wales culinary students work alongside the chefs and offer assistance in food preparation.
Local restaurants prepare their specialties featuring scrumptious bounty from the sea. Golden Rule Seafood Market, Whole Foods Market, Black Point Ocean Grill, Iggy’s Street Wok, Imlee Indian Bistro, Miller Alehouse, Paella Party, Rodbender’s Raw Bar & Grill, Shibui Japanese Restaurant and Sports Grill offer an outstanding array of the freshest catch that includes delicious lobster, fried conch, shrimp egg rolls, grilled dolphin, garlic blue crabs and heaping mounds of shrimp that are steamed, fried, or just peel and eat.
Set on the biggest backyard on Biscayne Bay, the festival is non-stop fun. While a parade of Bahamian Junkanoo musicians playfully weave throughout the crowd, emcee Trent Aric, Channel 10’s chief meteorologist, keeps the on-stage entertainment jumpin’ with the Harbor Islanders, a lively Brazilian Revue and the music of the popular VIVA Rock Band to close out the day.
New to the Li’l Shrimp Kids Zone is the Deering Discovery Cove, created by the estate’s Educational and Interpretive Staff, where kids experience a simulated underwater archeological adventure. In the Cove, boys and girls build their own seaworthy exploration vessels and then embark on a journey where they will discover a mangrove shipwreck and pirates’ treasures, uncover fossils, and explore the fascinating bioluminescence of creatures that live deep beneath the sea. The Kids Zone also offers unlimited fun on the inflatables, and serves a land lovers menu to keep everyone happy.
Save time for pontoon boat rides aboard the Pelican Skipper to Chicken Key, an Artists’ Village featuring local artists and artisans crafters with original paintings, photography, crafts and jewelry, and a limited number of nature hikes and tours of the historic Stone House and Richmond Cottage.
The Deering Estate at Cutler is a Miami- Dade County park, located at 16701 SW 72 Ave. Admission includes park entrance and entertainment from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Adults $15 in advance online, $20 at the gate, Children 4-14 years old are $5; and Foundation members are admitted free. Proceeds benefit the Deering Estate Foundation. For more information call 305- 235-1668, ext. 263, or go to www.deeringseafoodfestival.org.