The seafaring tradition, culinary riches and vibrant creative enterprises of Stock Island, the Florida Keys community adjacent to Key West, are to be on display Friday through Sunday, Dec. 8-10, for attendees of the I Love Stock Island Festival.
The hub of the Florida Keys commercial shrimping industry, Stock Island is defined by a rustic authenticity that flavors its colorful marinas, arts enclaves and waterfront bars and restaurants.
The family-friendly festival is to blend culinary events, live music, history and art studio tours, a bicycle excursion, a lighted boat parade and other experiences that showcase the island and its eclectic working waterfront.
Scheduled highlights include Friday’s “Taste of Stock Island,” a guided exploration of local cuisine beginning at 4 p.m. Traveling via trolley, guests are to stop at selected Stock Island restaurants to savor small plates and beverage pairings at each location.
Friday also features waterfront festivities as vessels from dinghies and schooners to local shrimpboats, all adorned with holiday lights and decorations, parade through community marinas starting at 7 p.m.
Art lovers, history fans, foodies and families can spend Saturday enjoying free “Discover Stock Island” excursions by trolley. Local galleries, restaurants and attractions are to stage open houses for attendees, who can search for “treasure” prizes as they explore.
Saturday’s plans also call for a traditional shrimp boil at the Oceans Edge Key West Resort Hotel & Marina, located at 5950 Peninsular Ave. In addition, a 7-11 p.m. anniversary celebration at Stock Island’s landmark Hogfish Bar and Grill, 6810 Front St., is to star a surprise musical guest in an unforgettable performance.
Sunday’s schedule features the second annual Stock Rock & Roll Bike Ride, a free self-paced cycling exploration of the island’s eateries, bars and emporiums set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guided history tours will be offered at 10 and 11 a.m., departing from We Cycle at 5160 Overseas Highway.
The festival’s other enticements include food truck feasts, Sunday art studio showcases and festive holiday brunches at popular Stock Island restaurants.
Event information: ILoveStockIsland.org