It’s shorthand for luxury cuisine, but lobster eaten fresh at the source can be also be casual, street food, family dining and fun! That’s the premise behind lobster festivals in Caribbean destinations where they have access to an abundance of what may be the most popular crustacean.
Unlike some festivals, lobster festivals are not limited to a single month or season of the year, as lobster seasons vary.
So chances are you can find a lobster festival that lines up with your next holiday window:
Marathon, Florida Keys, Seafood Festival: March
Marathon, often dubbed the "Heart of the Florida Keys," boasts a unique blend of small-town charm and spectacular natural attractions. The Seven Mile Bridge, an architectural marvel, connects Marathon to the Lower Keys, providing breathtaking oceanic views from the ocean or for drivers arriving by car. With a rich seafaring history, Marathon also hosts the Turtle Hospital, a haven for rehabilitating sea turtles. Its numerous islands offer a glimpse into the area's historical significance, while its shallow reefs make it a snorkeler's paradise. With culture, history and ecological wonders, Marathon is a one-of-a-kind destination in Florida.
The Florida Keys have a nearly half-century tradition of celebrating lobster as part of the “Original Marthon Seafood Festival.” Scheduled in 2024 for March 9-10, and held at Marathon Community Park, the event is a showcase of local seafood and maritime culture organized by the chamber of commerce and local fishermen whose catch feeds residents and visitors throughout the year.
You won’t just find lobster. The festival features an array of seafood, also including stone crabs and mahi-mahi, all sourced locally. You can wash your lobster down with local beverages including beers by Islamorada Beer Company.
The festival features over 200 vendors, offering nautical equipment to home décor. For families attending, children's activities like rock climbing and face painting are on the agenda. Grown-ups will also get into the live music across various genres and a boat show throughout the weekend, not to mention the military tribute that gives the festival’s 20,000 attendees the opportunity to show the community’s appreciate for the armed forces.
Anegada, British Virgin Islands Lobster Festival: November
Anegada stands out as the only coral island in the British Virgin Islands archipelago. First-time and returning visitors are enchanted by attractions like the Flamingo Point Lookout, the Iguana Headstart Facility, Conchshell Mounds, Flamingo Pond, and Faulkner House Museum. Activities such as scooter riding, horseback riding, and sportfishing make Anegada an unforgettable Caribbean vacation destination.
The island has been holding a Lobster Festival for over a decade. In 2023, the Anegada Lobster Festival takes place from the 24th to the 26th November 2023, making it a way for American visitors to take a break over Thanksgiving and still make food the focus of the holiday.
With a dozen restaurants participating, visitors can sample dozens of lobster dishes, from crispy fried lobster with mango dip to the traditional lobster patties. There are lots of transportation options to get around the island from one lobster restaurant to the next, while a vibrant carnival atmosphere cheers your lobster restaurant hopping, and prizes await those who make the most of the festival restaurants.
This year, the festival introduces a "Family Fun Day" at the Anegada Recreation Grounds, and will also feature live music, and visitors will be introduced to local music sensations.
Ambergris Caye Lobster Festival: July
Ambergris Caye, Belize's largest island, offers visitors turquoise waters and pristine beaches - not just for sun-seekers. Diving enthusiasts flock to the famous Great Blue Hole. Local markets brim with artisanal crafts, and vibrant nightlife keeps energies high even after dark.
For three decades, Ambergris Caye's annual Lobster Festival has added gastronomic indulgence to the attractions of the island - and since Belize’s lobster season begins on July 1st, it also kicks off the summer.
The festival takes center stage in several locales: San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Placencia. The San Pedro Lobster Fest runs almost two weeks til mid-July, while Caye Caulker and Placencia focus their lobster celebrations on one weekend in the middle of the month.
More than just a culinary event, the festival is a vibrant blend of local culture and fun. Attendees can navigate through numerous participating restaurants, each vying for attention with their unique take on the Caribbean Spiny Lobster. From traditional grilled dishes to more exotic concoctions like lobster kebabs and curries, there's a flavor for every seafood palate.
You’ll also be entertained by lively steel drum bands, authentic Belizean dance performances, and other local attractions.
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Image: BVI Tourist Board & Film Commission
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