It’s the biggest shopping event of the year, and it all happens this weekend at Founders Park in Islamorada.
This year’s 25th annual Upper Keys Rotary Club Gigantic Nautical Flea Market, presented by Richard C. Fox Plumbing, brings just over 270 vendors from around the state, as well as North Carolina, New York and Texas, for two days of shopping, eating, drinking and activities. From boats and fishing gear to artistic creations and honey, there’s something for everyone during this year’s “Boat Show with a Beach” event Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 22-23.
Rotary members will be serving up all-you-can-eat breakfast for $5. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Choose from a menu that will be sure to satisfy everyone’s hunger.
“We start off with our famous all-you-can-eat breakfast including sausage, hash browns, scrambled eggs and pancakes,” said Don Horton, Rotarian and grillmaster. “Then we transition to the best burgers in town, fried fish, conch fritters and hot dogs. We throw in some of Eddie’s famous paella, chicken fingers, sausage and fries. Who knows? There might be a few other surprises in the mix!”
With waves of shoppers entering the park, the annual event has raised millions in direct scholarship aid that’s helped local graduating students from Coral Shores High School and current scholars for decades. Ninety-three percent of students graduating go on to some form of higher ed, whether that be technical school, a state college or university.
“How do they afford that? One way is scholarships given out by many organizations in this community. With Upper Keys Rotary Club, we give out scholarships in the amount over the last 25 years of about $5 million to 2,000 students,” said Rotarian Frank Derfler. “Every year, we distribute $200,000 to scholars who have graduated, and the way we do that is through the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market.”
Visit Upper Keys Rotary Nautical Flea Market on Facebook for more information. Don’t forget to download the interactive map to find vendors. Visit rotarymarket.info and search the show by vendor name or by the types of products they sell.