John Bartus

As we move through the new month of April, let’s reflect back on the really intense and exciting month that was March in Marathon. The community came together for some amazing and important events that exemplify our status as the heart of the Keys. 

The city of Key Colony Beach celebrated its birthday with a big community event known as, surprisingly enough, Key Colony Beach Day! Beginning with the Shriners’ pancake breakfast, the day included the ever-popular barracuda races, live music, vendors, and food and drink. The Zonta Club raised money for scholarships and education with their Rubber Ducky race, and the Rotary Club of Marathon raised funds by enhancing the festivities of all the days’ attendees — we sold beer and wine. 

The very next weekend, Marathon locals and visitors turned out for the social event of the year: the 43rd annual Original Marathon Seafood Festival! With more than 200 vendors, hundreds of volunteers, and generous contributions from festival goers, a lot of money was raised for local nonprofits through raffles and drawings. 

The Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce and the Organized Fishermen of Florida, Marathon Chapter, use this event as their major fundraiser for the year. Two days of live music, fun activities for kids, and the best seafood around provided by our local commercial fisherman highlight the event that has become the second largest event in all of the Florida Keys.

The seafood festival is a celebration of Marathon’s commercial fishing heritage. Stone crab, lobster, shrimp and other delicacies provide a tasty tropical tableau that involves our entire community and our visitors as well. Marathon shines at this event, and so many people contribute so much every year to its success. 

This past Saturday, March 30, Marathon came together yet one more time for a worthy and important cause. Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, a celebration of cancer survivors, and a remembrance of those we have lost. Raising awareness of cancer is as important as raising money, and people from up and down the Keys come together for this worthy cause. 

Main organizers Jimmy Anderson and Suzi and Scott Youngberg helped put together an event that was both fun and poignant. From participants dancing around the track as my band played “Love Shack” to the reflective luminaria ceremony, Relay offers us yet another chance to come together as a community. 

And community is what the people of Marathon are all about. In times of adversity, we have each other‘s backs. In good times, we celebrate with the best. And every day in the Keys is worthy of a celebration.

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