Hungry eaters down a pound of bacon during an eating contest at last year’s Bacon Fest. DONNA STARK/Contributed

Activities in Islamorada are ramping up, as the beats along Florida Bay return to Founders Park on Friday, Nov. 3. And wafts of bacon will fill Islamorada’s Morada Way Arts & Cultural District to conclude the weekend. 

2022 marked the inaugural year of the Beats on the Bay Music Series, which brought cover bands to the Islamorada Community Entertainment (ICE) amphitheater for an evening of jams. Food and drinks complemented the music as the sun set over the bay.  

The Rolling Stones Tribute band Music City Stones will make their way to the ICE amphitheater on Friday, Nov. 3. Based out of Nashville, the band prides itself on musicianship along with Louis Lee Napolitano’s spot-on rendition of Mick Jagger. They’ve played at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, as well as the venues across Florida. 

ICE, the Upper Keys Rotary Club and the village of Islamorada are among the sponsors of this year’s music series. Attendees can enjoy fare and drinks from local food trucks. Admission is free, but there is a $10 parking fee. Visit for more information. 

With the beats come the sizzling goodness on Sunday, Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the return of Bacon Fest & Vendor show at the MM 81.5, oceanside, in Islamorada. Attendees can take a stroll on the Old Highway and indulge in tasty bacon dishes from local chefs. Artists and craft vendors will also be on hand to sell their creative offerings. There will also be live music, a dunk tank and other contests. 

Proceeds from Bacon Fest support local charities, the Moose Lodge and Coral Shores High School scholarships. Visit 2023 Bacon Fest & Vendor Show on Facebook for more information.

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.