As a former Buzzard Queen of Stan’s Idle Hour’s annual Mullet Festival, I feel as though it is my duty to inform the uninformed about this one-of-a-kind event. The year 2013 marks the 29th consecutive festival and the first year without its creator, Stan Gober. Stan will be “Buzzard Loping” in spirit as his three sons and four grandsons continue the tradition that celebrates the bait fish that created the fishing community of Goodland.
Stan’s and Son’s 29th Annual Goodland Mullet Festival kicks off on Friday, January 25 and continues until the sun sets on Sunday, January 27. The usual festivities of fish cleaning, fried and smoked mullet eating, dancing to live entertainment, drinking buzzard punches, purchasing outrageous party wear from Island Woman and crowning a new Buzzard Princess and Buzzard Queen are all a part of this year’s agenda.
From 6:00 to 10:00 PM on Friday, the kick-off party takes place with a duo that has become famous at Stan’s, Hot Damn. Dance your heart out and try some fresh fried mullet. The fish may or may not encourage you to come back for more but the fun, friendly atmosphere will have you looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
Fill up on pancakes on Saturday morning at the Goodland Civic Association Pancake Breakfast before you head to Saturday and Sunday’s festivities. The GCA will be serving pancakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee at the Goodland Community Center, 417 E. Mango from 8:00 until 11:00 AM. Raffles for local restaurant and marina gift certificates will take place. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children and benefits the GCA.
The activities start early on Saturday with lunch beginning at noon and Hot Damn back for more at 1:00 PM. A fish cleaning contest will be held at 3:00 and the Princess Buzzard Lope and Best Costume Contest will take place at 4:00. Little ladies of the feathery kind are encouraged to dress like a bird and get up on stage to dance the well-known “Buzzard Lope.” At 6:00 Rasta Roni and Papa Rasta hit the stage with their Reggae beats to celebrate the pending Full Moon that takes place on Sunday January, 27.
Sunday is always the BIG day for the Mullet Festival. Fried and smoked mullet will be found and smelled everywhere you look. The Stampede Band will perform for the main event. The Buzzard Lope Queen Contest takes place at 4:00 PM. Break out your feathers and glue guns and get to work on your costumes now, ladies. Flap your wings to “The Buzzard Lope” and win by audience approval. Ask any former Queen – it is a true honor to be bestowed the title.
Local vendors will be on the scene and the Marco Island Fire Department will be serving up hot dogs for a good cause all day Saturday and Sunday.
It may only be January, but to many of Stan’s and Son’s annual guests, this IS the event of the year!
Stan’s is located on the left as you enter Goodland (there’s only one way in and one way out of the island). You can’t miss it. For more information or registration, call Stan’s at 239-394-3041.
Photos by Victoria Wright