New I Love Stock Island Festival Offers More Than 50 Events and Activities Thanksgiving Weekend.
The I Love Stock Island Festival is a city-wide event Thanksgiving weekend, November 25-27, 2016 celebrating the heritage and history of Stock Island. Not limited to any one specific venue or happening, guests are invited to experience three full days of free & ticketed events showcasing Stock Island’s culinary, entertainment, artistic, cultural & historic gems. There are four ‘signature events’ that I Love Stock Island is presenting and many events and activities being offered by individual Stock Island businesses.
The Festival kicks off Friday Nov. 25 with the neighborhood Fish Fry from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm at Stock Island Marina Village. Admission and parking are free. A time-honored island tradition (like one might find in the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos), the Friday night community fish fry celebrates the catch of the day with locals and travelers shoulder to shoulder at colorful picnic tables. Guests should bring their appetite for a variety of reasonably priced fresh seafood, Jamaican, Caribbean & Cuban-influenced cuisine. The Bahamas Village Social Club will perform live island music. There will be beer by Shipyard and rum punch by Key West Distilling along with lots of kid’s activities. Local vendors will be offering their handcrafted wares (perfect for early holiday shopping) and many Stock Island businesses will be showcased including deck tours on General Patton’s sailboat the SV When & If. Guests with a creative flair are invited to help turn a conch car into an “I Love Stock Island” art car.
Discover Stock Island is a free public event on Saturday, Nov. 26 between the hours of 10 am – 5 pm. Businesses, restaurants, galleries and attractions will host open houses and specials. Visitors can pick up a Stock Island treasure map or use the mobile phone map highlighting more than forty participating locations. They may tour Stock Island at their leisure via trolleys, bike rentals on foot and by car. Nothing is very far apart – Stock Island south of US 1 is only 1 square mile and the entire route (excluding participating Homeless Shelter and Golf Course) is walkable at 4 miles. Highlights include several free excursions by boat, artist and workshop studio tours, seminars, a rum tasting and even tours of the Homeless Shelter (KOTS). Guests will ‘find treasure’ along the way for a chance to win prizes including a $200 gift card from Stock Island Chevron, several pieces of original art, sailing and watersport charters, and a $250 outboard maintenance kit, among others. People should visit www.ILoveStockIsland.org for complete information and to register for activities.
Saturday night features the Taste of Stock Island, a ticketed event designed for foodies. Guests will travel by trolley to six or more stops for amazing small plate pairings. This is an intimate affair offering an authentic experience to meet the chefs, restaurant owners, artists and musicians that make Stock Island unique.
The Stock Rock and Roll Brunch Ride takes place Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm. This is another free to attend event that combines the great restaurants on Stock Island with the history of Stock Island. Guests are encouraged to ride their bikes or rent at a discount from We-Cycle. Later Sunday, the Hogfish Bar and Grill is offering an old fashioned Shrimp Boil and Roostica a BBQ and Bubbles pop up dinner. Both are ticketed events which can be purchased online in advance.
Stock Island has always been the ‘working side’ of Key West. Many service businesses are located here along with the waterfront marine and commercial fishing, shrimp & lobster industries. It is home to more than 50 artists and craftsman. All of that together make Stock Island unique, authentic and charming. Many watersports and sport fishing charters operate from the marinas here. There are ten great places to eat for authentic seafood, Cuban and ethnic cuisine and four more slated to open soon. The marinas are expanding and new hotels are being built. Bernstein Park is undergoing a $7.9-million restoration. Major road improvements will begin after the first of the year. There are so many good things happening, the I Love Stock Island Festival hopes to celebrate and encourage the community and visitors to come over and take a fresh look. For more information ILoveStockIsland.org or facebook.com/ILoveStockIsland
The new I Love Stock Island Initiative is a not-for-profit (status pending) organization “Dedicated to preserving the cultural history of Stock Island by promoting its healthy future through outreach, marketing and special events to make our community a better place to live, work and play.” The organization operates under the guidance of a board of directors comprised of community members who care about and have a vested interest in improving Stock island.
For more information, visit the website at ILoveStockIsland.org or call Sean Krikorian at 573.619.2200.