Artist Noel Skiba shows off her paintings during the 30th Island Fest in 2022. CONTRIBUTED

Island Fest returns to Islamorada on April 1-2, featuring a juried art show, live music, food, classic cars and much more. 

The annual Islamorada Chamber of Commerce event, now in its 31st year, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Founders Park, MM 87, bayside. 

The Plantation Yacht Harbor Arts and Crafts Show will feature some 100 artists whose works include everything from paintings and sculptures to jewelry, fine crafts and even driftwood carvings. Recognized as this year’s poster artist is local painter from Havana, Cuba, Osvaldo Fernandez, whose work “A Dolphin’s Greeting” captures the joyful nature of this majestic and powerful mammal. Fernandez, who works primarily in oil, is well-known in the Cuban art communities of Havana, Matanzas and Varadero. His vibrant paintings have been exhibited in various galleries, and have made their way into private collections in Spain, Italy, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela and the United States. 

“We are excited to have Osvaldo on board as the poster artist for this year’s Island Fest,” said Craig McBay, Islamorada Chamber of Commerce board president. “His works are truly remarkable, and we look forward to introducing him to our community and showcasing his art.”  

“To be named poster artist for Island Fest has meant the world to Fernandez, as he recently moved from Cuba to the Florida Keys. He is honored to be able to share his art with the local community this year for Island Fest,” said Yulia, Osvaldo’s wife. 

Recognized as this year’s poster artist is local painter from Havana, Cuba, Osvaldo Fernandez, whose work “A Dolphin’s Greeting” captures the joyful nature of this majestic and powerful mammal.

Food is a mainstay during both days of Island Fest. The culmination of local culinary greatness will come Sunday at noon when the Taste of Islamorada competition brings out top local restaurants to show off their most mouthwatering dishes. Attendees will get to cast their ballot for the People’s Choice Award. The awards ceremony will take place on the stage at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Back at Island Fest this year for is the All-American Road Vintage Cruisers Car Show, featuring antique cars, trucks, motorcycles and rat rods. The show will be visible from U.S. 1, on the Florida Keys “All-American Road,” encouraging passersby with an interest in antique and unique cars to stop for a look. Awards will be presented for Coolest Cruiser, Raddest Rod, KeyZ Rider, Longest Haul, Big Kahuna, Funkiest Foreign, Best of Show and People’s Choice. New entrants are always encouraged. 

An array of popular musical acts appealing to music lovers of all genres will perform throughout the festival. Acts will range from country and rock to blues, jazz, Latin and reggae. The Coconut Cowboys will be back again to rock the beach and close out the event on Sunday afternoon from 2 p.m to 5 p.m. The main stage is located on the beach. 

Island Fest offers fun for the whole family. Children and child-like adults can help paint a life-sized dolphin statue, build sand castles and compete in hula hoop contests as kites fly high in the sky. In addition, teams will venture to the beach on Saturday, where they will compete to construct the best sand sculpture inspired by this year’s theme of “Seahorses, Seashells and Sea Stars.” 

Also on the show’s first day is the wacky and wonderful “What Floats Your Boat?” homemade boat race. Participants will create a “boat” to enter in the race, which will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. There is no entry fee and the Chamber of Commerce is currently seeking entries.  Winners will be declared for the Yachtiest Award, Thriftiest Award, Anchor Award, Krazy Krewe Award, Eco-Friendly Award and Sink and Swim Award. The big winner will be presented with the Lucky Ducky Admiral Award. 

“What Floats Your Boat?” racers take off from Founders Park beach. CONTRIBUTED

Back again this year by popular demand is the kids’ division of the race – “What Floaties Your Boat?” for participants 11 and under. Teams can enter with their favorite swimming pool float. Prizes include but are not limited to Duckiest Award, the Super Star and the Scallywag.

Admission to Island Fest is free and on-site parking is available for a $5 donation. The Islamorada Chamber of Commerce encourages the public to “Keep the Scene Green” and bring your own reusable drink container to reduce plastic use during the event.  Events will take place rain or shine. Plan to bring your own lawn chairs, and blankets for a comfortable, fun-filled day. For more information, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at 305-664-4503.