Photographer Maggie Sayer is returning this year to offer fall portraits for $10 at the event, and there will be live music from “In Pursuit” and “Coco and the Nut” during the event.

‘Free Irma Pass’

The grounds of Marathon’s Crane Point Museum and Nature Center took quite a beating from Hurricane Irma’s winds, but that won’t stop the doors from opening for the second annual Fall Festival.

Hayrides, roasted corn, kid’s crafts, live music, and crisp Islamorada Beer Co. beverages will prevail on Sunday, Oct. 29 from 4 to 8 p.m. on the Crane Point grounds.

“It will be good to have a sense of normalcy,” said co-coordinator Christina Gonzalez. “It’s a good event to relax and de-stress for everyone, adults and kids.”

Earlier in the month, the event actually going through was questionable. The museum took considerable wind damage to many of the trees, blocking most of the trails on the site. The storm also ruined the aquarium features and touch tanks, and took out all of the golf carts.

“If it wasn’t for Chris Gratton and Steve Cook, we wouldn’t even be able to do the hayrides,” said Crane Point Executive Director Charlotte Quinn, of the two stepping up to donate a tractor for the event, and build a suitable trailer to transport the guests down the now-cleared trails. Other obstacles included vendors losing equipment in the storm and having to cancel.

“Everyone is still really excited about this,” said co-coordinator Allison Sayer. “Marathon really needed a fall event and I am glad we are able to do it again this year.”

Centennial Bank’s Weenie Wagon will be on site to provide free hot dogs, with Florida Keys Brewing Co. and Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority supplying beverages. There will also be a costume contest for the kids with prizes, and everyone’s favorite: the roasted corn donated by The Lions Club.

Last year, 850 people came out to the event and the event was $5 per person, but this year it will be free. “It’s the free Irma pass,” said Quinn, who hopes those who are able will still leave a small donation.

“The storm just really beat us up, but we are going to come back from this stronger than ever,” she said. The 64-acre property will reopen the following day, Monday, Oct. 30 for normal business.


The hayride is the highlight of the event. The committee hoped to have two tractors this year, but Hurricane Irma put a damper on the plans; luckily, one will still be running, thanks to a couple of community members. CHRISTINA GONZALEZ/Contributed

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