Now firmly established as one of Miami’s “must attend” events, offering a family-friendly celebration of South Florida’s heritage, cultural diversity, native habitats and fresh Florida seafood, the 14th annual Deering Seafood Festival on Sunday, Mar. 25, embraced a record-breaking crowd of more than 9,000 people, filling the historic Deering Estate to capacity.
Greeted by a beautiful sunny day, residents and tourists alike staked out their place in line prior to the 10 a.m. opening in order to claim favorite spots on the Deering Estate’s lush green bayfront lawn.
Throughout the day attendees moved and grooved to the beat of the live island-themed entertainment, while strolling through the expansive grounds, enjoying ice-cold beverages, freshly prepared seafood, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, the works of local artists and crafters, pontoon boat rides to Chicken Key and a whole host of interactive fun and educational activities designed to engage the energy, intrigue and curiosity of kids.
Thanks to the generosity of its valued sponsors, including first-time Title Sponsor Tom Thumb Food Stores, this year’s Seafood Festival generated record breaking proceeds used to support the preservation of the historic estate and its many year-around arts, educational and recreational programs.
Named by the Greater Miami Festival and Events Association as “2017’s Best Event of the Year,” the Deering Seafood Festival is the only one-day festival to be recognized among the Top 10 Events in its category for eight consecutive years by BizBash magazine.
“These influential events continually challenge the norm, push limits to evolve, and engage their audiences in an effective and meaningful way,” according to BizBash.
The Seafood Festival is produced by the foundation’s event manager, Michelle Striet, with broad-based community engagement and more than 280 enthusiastic and very dedicated volunteers. The Event Committee, co-chaired by Dan Yglesias and David Marley, past presidents of the foundation’s board, is comprised of board members and skillful community leaders, each one leading key segments of the event.
“The outpouring of community support and engagement never ceases to amaze me,” said Mary Pettit, executive director of the Deering Estate Foundation. “Together we come together to coordinate and curate every detail of the event, including traffic and public safety, to ensure a fun and quality experience is had by all, while showcasing the cultural and culinary richness of South Florida at one of the most magnificent historical and environmental venues within Miami-Dade County’s Park System.”
Each year the event draws scores of people who had never visited the estate before, introducing them to all it has to offer year-round. The event generates more than $100,000 in net proceeds, supporting the foundation’s efforts to help preserve, protect and enhance the estate for future generations.
The centerpiece of the festival is a cornucopia of culinary delights, with sumptuous fare along Seafood Alley, presented by Golden Rule Seafood. Continuous entertainment, sponsored by Mosquito Joe, took place throughout the day, with live performances by Caribbean Crew, Symphony of Steel, Pan Paradise Steel Drum Band, and the free-spirited Bahamian Junkanoo musicians and Virgin Islands stilt walkers weaving throughout the crowds. Blackstar Band closed out the day with some good old rock ‘n’ roll.
Families enjoyed the Li’l Shrimp Kids Zone and the Deering Discovery Cove, where they found fun, creative and interactive recreational and educational activities highlighting the Deering Estate’s hands-on Environmental Education Programs and Camps that serve over 18,000 children annually.
Plans are already underway for the 15th annual Deering Seafood Festival set for Mar. 31, 2019, and sponsorship opportunities are available. The Deering Estate is located at 16701 SW 72 Ave. in Palmetto Bay. For more information, visit www.DeeringEstate.org, or call 305-235-1668.