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Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 1:15 am

Stone Crab and Seafood Festival - Saturday & Sunday at the Homestead Sports Complex

Anyone living in or visiting our area in late January in recent years, has been to or heard about the Key Largo Stone Crab and Seafood Festival. That was until the Monroe County authorities made the festival ‘close its doors’. The problem had nothing to do with the festival itself. Rather, it had to do with the fact that it had become too successful.

Yes, too successful.

The authorities were rightfully concerned that the extreme traffic tie-ups on US #1 in and out of Key Largo, caused by the thousands coming to enjoy it, would make an emergency situation just get worse.

So, the Rotary Club of Homestead stepped in and offered to bring the festival to Homestead. The primary food vendors that originated the festival were Key Largo Fisheries and the Florida Keys Restaurant Management Group (owners of Sonny’s in Florida City and several KL restaurants including MM 88 and Sundowners) if they would be interested in bringing what had become a huge success to Homestead. The owners of the Fisheries just happen to be the Hill family of Homestead and Tom Hill and his daughter Carrie Pino stated emphatically…."YES!”

Fast forward to last February and the Rotary Club of Homestead Charitable Foundation 1st Annual Stone Crab and Seafood Festival (RCHSCSF) became a

reality.

Nearly 10,000 people came out and enjoyed a wonderful variety of seafood delights and strolled the retail vendor niche products you only find at a festival like this. Mix in some very high-end rock and roll and you have a memorable event.

Fast forward again to this weekend and you have RCHSCSF II…!

Last year's event was so incredibly well received, this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better. With twice as many food and retail vendors, local top shelf entertainment with Mr. Nice Guy and Homestead’s own AJ Gaytan and the Southern Stampede playing Saturday and Sunday, the weatherman calling for clear skies and great temperatures, sprinkle in the fun and frivolity these types of events seem to produce almost by accident, and you should be packing the car right now!

Come out and support the Rotary Club of Homestead Charitable Foundation’s efforts to raise the money that helps guarantee a successful future for us all. The Homestead Rotary Club has raised well over $1 million since they started their prime rib dinner auction over 30 years ago to support our community and to award college scholarships. Last year the Homestead Rotary awarded 21 college scholarships and helped keep the doors open at places like the Homestead Soup Kitchen. Hurricane Relief here and afar was also provided by this exceptional club made up of our business and civic leadership.

Service Above Self is the Rotary motto. The Rotary Club of Homestead has been doing just that in our community for nearly 100 years. They are inviting you and your family to come and help them grow their scholarship coffers while you enjoy the freshest and finest seafood from our local waters.

Come see why former Mayor of Homestead Jeff Porter said walking away from the festival last year, “What Rotary has created is Homestead’s signature event.” This year should prove that to be an understatement.

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