The all-ages fun, artistic creations, live tunes and the plethora of taste bud and thirst-pleasing options that are the Marco Island Food and Music Festival are right around the corner.
Veterans Community Park will again be the site for the always popular event, set for March 23 through March 25, which attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year.
This will be the 11th year for the festival, which serves as a fundraiser for the charitable efforts of Marco’s Sunrise and Noon Time Rotary clubs and the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island. The proceeds help fund many of the clubs’ charitable efforts, including scholarships, dictionaries for third grade students, heart surgery for underprivileged children in Third World countries, Christmas Island Style, support to local charter schools, assistance to St. Matthew’s House and Habitat for Humanity, and more.
The festival features live music, 60 arts and crafts vendors, a kid’s zone and, of course, a multitude of food vendors, with the highlight being the purveyors of fresh seafood, although fans of landlubber fare will also find multiple options.
“What’s really very exciting about this festival, starting from its organization, all the way to five o’clock on Sunday, the execution is all done by volunteers,” said Dianna Dohm, executive director of the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t have any paid staff. It’s all volunteers from the clubs, and they reach out to their neighbors and family members. It’s just amazing that this community comes together and can execute this three-day festival without having to pay one person, except for the musical acts.”
Where music is concerned, local favorites, such as the Ben Allen Band, Deb and the Dynamics, and Almost ABBA will headline each respective day. DJ Steve Reynolds opens the festivities on Friday and live music will begin at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
Begun last year, the VIP Experience, done in conjunction with the Seminole Casino in Immokalee, was such a success that it’s been continued. For $75, “VIPs” receive entry for all three days, prime seating underneath a stage-side tent, four drink tickets, $15 in food vouchers, private restroom facilities and a chance to win a fourday cruise worth over $ 1,500.
“It was a nice way to enjoy the Seafood Festival without having to mingle with the large crowds,” said Dohm.
What: Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival
Where: Veterans CommunityPark, 901 Park Avenue
When: March 23-25, 11 AM-9 PM (Sunday until 5 PM)
Cost: $10 per day, $16 for two days. $75 VIP experience.
For More Info: marcoislandfoodandmusicfestival.com
THE MUSIC SCHEDULE
12-3 PM – DJ Steve Reynolds
3-6 PM – Ferguson and Rogers Band
6-9 PM – Ben Allen Band
12-3 PM – Galaxy Band
3-6 PM – The Manipulators
6-9 PM – Almost ABBA
2-5 PM – Deb & the Dynamics Band
Also returning for a second year are beer tastings conducted by Southwest Florida Brew Crafters.
“We’re doing it again this year, so that’s exciting. We’re also offering the frozen the delights, the frozen pina coladas and margaritas and rum runners, and those were a big hit last year,” said Dohm.
She cites a couple reasons why the festival has proven to be so popular.
“I think it’s because we’re an all-volunteer staff,” she said. “I think everyone appreciates all the work we’re doing. And the proceeds; you come to the gate and the $10 that you pay to get in; you know it’s going back into our community to help the needy. I think that’s what really brings a lot of people out, but also, I have to admit, we have really good music and there’s nothing better than on a Friday night, having a Bahama Breeze, sitting on the grass in Veterans Park, listening to Ben Allen. What could be better than that?”
General admission tickets are $10 (cash only) or $16 for two days and can be purchased at the gate. VIP tickets can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, located at 1102 N. Collier Boulevard. They can also be purchased at the festival by buying a regular $10 ticket and paying the additional $65 at the VIP tent. For more information about the Marco Island Food and Music Festival, visit marcoislandfoodandmusicfestival.com.