He’s a third-generation Rotarian and makes a damn good Bloody Mary.
Haven’t tried one of Joe Roth’s concoctions? Well, you better do so while out shopping at this weekend’s 25th annual Gigantic Nautical Flea Market presented by Richard C. Fox Plumbing at Founders Park.
A Rotarian since age 29, Roth is in his second go-around as president of the 80-plus member Upper Keys Rotary Club. He’s lived in the Keys most of his life, having graduated from Coral Shores and venturing back following college. He owns and operates Regan Roth Insurance Agency in Tavernier.
Roth serves as treasurer for the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors. He also sits on the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative’s board of directors.
Roth’s not only ready to dish out the best Bloody Marys around, he’s also excited to be joining the many other Rotarians and volunteers who give back to the community.
“The camaraderie of the people you like and respect, and being able to do something meaningful to give back, it checked all the boxes,” said Roth when asked what led him to join Rotary.
Full Name: Joe Roth III
Gigantic Nautical Flea Market is this weekend. What are you looking forward to most? I’m most looking forward to spending time with fellow Rotarians, working side-by-side and having a lot of fun and working hard at the event. I’m also looking forward to seeing crowds of people come and be a part of this successful event.
What about this annual event is so fascinating to you? I think what’s fascinating is that it not only brings local people, but it’s amazing to see how visitors come and make it a part of their vacation experience. Year after year, people come down this weekend to the Keys to be a part of this event. They’re buying food and items and drinks and having a good time.
What does it take to put on such a big event? It takes a group of committed folks. We’re fortunate enough with our club that we’ve had people who’ve been doing it for so long. We’ve got people with long tenure who are very seasoned who understand how it runs. Couple that with assistance from the other two clubs, Key Largo Rotary and Key Largo Sunset Rotary; it takes a group effort and it takes a lot of volunteers to make it happen.
The flea market enters its 25th year … what kind of impact has this annual event had on the community and its young scholars? I would say over 25 years, the community’s benefited directly from the event. We’ve been able to inject $2.5-3 million in the form of scholarships and in the form of assistance. That doesn’t count the all nonprofits we give space to. There’s an ancillary offshoot from the event with other nonprofits. You got PKS doing raffles and drives. The impact is great.
I hear there are some good Bloody Marys at this flea market… is that true? Yes… Bloody Marys will be flowing. They’ve become pretty popular. It usually starts relatively early and goes throughout the day. We also do rum punch and have a full bar, and we have a couple different locations for it.
How did the Bloody Mary-making come to be? It started from the fact that I was in the kitchen cooking breakfast. One year, I brought a small cooler with a Bloody Mary mix and made some for people in the kitchen. We’d start cooking at 5 a.m. By 10 a.m., everyone had worked for 4 to 5 hours already, so they’d be dragging a little. I came up with the idea to take a Bloody Mary break and have one. It got so popular they kept talking about it. We thought ‘Why don’t we do it for everybody?’ So we bought the tiki hut, and it took off immediately.
Without giving up your secret, what’s the key to mixing up a good Bloody Mary? Use a good mix; if you’re going to use pre-made mix, use one that’s not too spicy. The secret is to have condiments like horseradish and Worcestershire sauce there to make your own.
What Rotarian stops by the Bloody Mary booth the most? I consume my fair share. It’s hard to tell. They all stop by.
How many do you think you serve up during the weekend? Out of my booth? I’d say we probably do about 3,500 drinks out of there. Of those, probably 2,000 are Bloody Marys.
Have a favorite vendor(s)? Anything nautical is really what I’m looking for. I’m a boater. There’s a guy who has a pocket knife tent. You can’t leave the flea market without picking one up.
Have a fond flea market memory? One of my fondest memories was very early on. We had a past president and one of the founders of the flea market in Sam Wampler. One year, early on in my Rotarian career, we were talking. He said, ‘You know it’s not about the money, it’s not about the event, it’s about the camaraderie. It’s about coming together to have a good time and doing good for other people.’ That always struck me. We make a lot of money for the community, but at the end of day, it’s about being together and enjoying the time together.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of Rotary, and being Rotary prez? Rotary gives you such an easy opportunity to give back, and you know where the efforts and money are going. You know there’s no overhead. We’re all volunteers. As far as being president, it’s really just a title. I’m fortunate enough to have a great club and a board that is very talented, and you know, it’s all about who you surround yourself with. I’m blessed to have a great group on my board.
When not working and not tending to Rotary business, what are you doing? I really like to be out on the water. I like boating and free diving.
Have a favorite spot to hangout when you’re free? Anywhere out on the reef.
Finish these sentences…
Being a Rotarian is … very rewarding.
The feeling of giving back to students to pursue their dream is … humbling. Hearing the stories that go with the applications, and having served on scholarship committee, you hear details about people’s lives and struggles they’ve gone through.
When visiting the Nautical Flea Market, be sure to … come ready to have a good time.