Come to historic Everglades City for the Annual Blessing of the Stone Crab Fleet on Saturday, September 28, on the bank of the Barron River at the Rod & Gun Lodge. The event starts at 1 p.m.with fun for all the family and ends at around 4 p.m. There will be arts & crafts booths, music, and a frog-jumping contest for the kiddies before local pastors bless each boat at 2 p.m.
Some vessels in the fleet have been operated by the same families for generations and ship their catch worldwide. The traps will be dropped on October 5 and the first harvest will be gathered on October 15 which is the official start of the season. A cash prize for the largest claw will be awarded that day.
One highlight of the event is the Coconut Guava Cake Baking Contest, judged this year by Sébastien J. Thieffine, Executive Pastry Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples, with a prize of $100 to the winner. Traditional recipes for this local specialty have been handed down over the years and remain family secrets.
Another highlight is the Ted Smallwood Look-Alike Contest which also has a $100 prize for the winner. Ted was one of the pioneers in this area who operated his famous store & post office (now a Museum) in Chokoloskee.
The celebration is being organized by the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation (www.evergladeshistorical.org). For more information, phone Tod at 239-260-4577 or follow us on FaceBook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blessing-of-the-Stone-Crab-Fleet/102906976439347).