What’s raised here, stays here.

“About 99 percent of the Marathon Seafood Festival’s proceeds benefit Marathon,” said Chamber of Commerce CEO Daniel Samess. “Besides, it’s a great community-wide party.”

The 39th annual Marathon Seafood Festival happens Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15 at Marathon Community Park. More than 20,000 festival goers come to eat seafood so fresh it almost crawls off the plate, hear music, play games and browse the hundreds of vendor booths selling great art, locally made sauces, jewelry and more.

The event is important to locals not only for the fun, but also its good works. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Marathon Chamber of Commerce’s and Organized Fishermen of Florida philanthropic programs. Both put the money back into Marathon by donating to kids’ athletic teams, scholarships and by supporting local nonprofits.

For example, this year a group of kids helping park cars is raising funds for an educational trip to Washington, D.C. The Interact Club, the junior branch of Rotary, has assembled a team to help in the food booths. The AYSO soccer parents and their kids will be in charge of cleaning tables. The donations they receive for doing so make the programs solvent.

The commercial fishermen hosting the event — i.e., toiling over the hot barbecues and fryers to make the food — literally sell space on their backs to raise money. The corporate sponsorships (logos on the back of the shirts) sometimes add a little extra to the scholarship fund.

“We give out $5,000 every year to a handful of graduating seniors every year,” said Paul Lebo, president of the Marathon chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida.

So, come, see food and eat it, confident that it’s all for a good cause.



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