Waves of underwater and outdoor enthusiasts, eco-travelers and families came out last year to celebrate the marine environment during Mote Marine Laboratory’s inaugural Ocean Fest: A Community Celebration at Founders Park. With funds raised for reef restoration and research, the event is back for another year of education, entertainment and excitement.

Set for Saturday, Nov. 9 at Founders Park, the second annual event is bringing a day of interactive exhibits, crafts, games, music, food and shopping. Mote’s Ocean Fest is part of an annual outreach to raise awareness of the marine laboratory’s coral reef research and restoration, as well as the dozen-plus research programs and work of partner organizations.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., attendees will have the ability to explore conservation and environmental exhibits from organizations up and down the Keys that are working to preserve and protect the water and its marine life. Conservation vendors will have hands-on activities for all ages to check out. Mote scientists will also be in attendance to discuss their work.

Kee Blight, marine biologist at Aquarium Encounters, holds a baby alligator during last year’s inaugural Mote Ocean Fest: A Community Celebration at Founders Park in Islamorada. FILE PHOTO
Kee Blight, marine biologist at Aquarium Encounters, holds a baby alligator during last year’s inaugural Mote Ocean Fest: A Community Celebration at Founders Park in Islamorada. FILE PHOTO

Kids will have the opportunity to meet live animals and experience touch tanks. Fishing clinics will be provided to give young anglers the opportunity to perfect their casting. Artists will be on hand showcasing their works for purchase.

“From face painting and rock climbing to interactive booths and live entertainment, there’s going to be something for everyone to enjoy at this year’s Ocean Fest,” said Olivia Hammond, event organizer.

Food vendors and trucks will be on hand, as well as Florida Keys Brewing Company, which will be pouring Mote’s Resistant Strain beer to benefit the coral restoration effort. A double hibiscus kolsch made with local honey, the beer was named in honor of Mote Marine Laboratory’s research to discover disease-resistant coral strains that can be used to re-skin coral reefs.

Back again for a live painting on stage is Pasta Pantaleo. His signature performance art piece will be auctioned at the event. With galleries in the heart of Islamorada, Pantaleo’s admiration for the water came at a young age living in Brooklyn. To Pantaelo, the sea was an escape from the urban life.

In addition to the live painting, four bands will perform during the event. They include Leah Sutter, Pasta Pantaleo & the Lower Mat Cats, Cultivation Reggae and Taylor King Band.

Those who bring a reusable cup to the event will get free water refills all day and discounted tickets for Florida Keys Brewing Co. beer.

“What we’re doing is pushing awareness in conservation and reducing plastic use,” said Allison Delashmit, community relations and communications manager with Mote. “We want to encourage everyone to be conservation-minded, bring cups and do our best to limit the waste we produce.”

More information is at moteoceanfest.org.

  • Mote’s Ocean Fest: A Community Celebration
  • 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Founders Park Great Lawn and Amphitheater, Islamorada
  • Admission is free
Staff at Mote give out scavenger-hunt materials.
Staff at Mote give out scavenger-hunt materials.

Join Our Blast – Keys News Right to Your INBOX

Leave a Reply