Each year in late March, Old Cutler Road backs up with people hungry for some of the best seafood anywhere in the country. Their destination is the Deering Seafood Festival. The 444-acre estate has hosted this event for the last nine years with crowds increasing every year as its reputation grows.
“Deering is owned by the state, managed by the county and the two buildings on site are financially cared for by the Deering Estate Foundation,” said board member Dr. James Thomas. “The Foundation has two fundraisers a year, this one in March and the Wine on Harvest Moon in October.
Based on recent fundraising, we’ve installed new climate control systems in our buildings. This allows us to bring back a lot of Deering’s original fine art that has been stored in Viscaya for years.”
This year’s Seafood Festival saw almost 9,000 people visit the grounds to sample food from 12 vendors. There were five celebritychef cooking demonstrations that allowed visitors to learn how to take some of the seafood festival tastes home with them.
“We have delicious food, all from local restaurants and vendors,” said Deering Estate Foundation executive director Mary Pettit. “We are always about quality and supporting our local economy.”
Entertainment included a kids’ zone with bounce houses, a stage with live music and a roving Bahamian Junkanoo Revue. High winds forced the pontoon boat rides into dry dock, but that didn’t stop the food and fun. The near-perfect temperatures and breezy conditions added to the relaxed vibe of the event.
Palmetto Bay Village Councilman Tim Schaffer manned the policing unit booth, helping to fingerprint kids. He is also a member of the University of Miami’s Sports Hall of Fame and brought out the 1992 Heisman Trophy to attract attention.
“This is a fantastic event and a great way to spend a Sunday,” said Schaffer.
Billy Martinez brought his friends, along with lawn chairs and a small table to take in the good eats.
“I come here every year,” he said. “It’s good stuff — the crawdads and all this spicy food. Golden Rule Seafood is my favorite.”
DEERING BOOK SIGNING APRIL 25
For those who can’t wait until next year to return to the Deering Estate, an upcoming author presentation and book signing might be the perfect ticket. Mark your calendar for Thursday, April 25 (6:30– 8:00 p.m.) to get your copy of Charles Deering and Ramon Casas: A Friendship in Art by Isabel Coll Mirabent.
The author, along with collaborator Christopher Hunt (a Deering descendant) will be on hand to present the lavishly illustrated, bilingual art book, which includes drawings by Ramón Casas in the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections at the Northwestern University Library, and oil paintings by Casas from private collections and the Art Institute of Chicago.
In the book, you learn about the development and dramatic dissolution of a three-way friendship that connected the Spanish painter Ramón Casas (1866–1932), Chicago industrialist Deering (1852–1927), who was a collector and admirer of Casas’s work as well as a patron of Northwestern University; and the Spanish artist Miguel Utrillo (1862–1934), Casas’s lifelong friend and the father of the French painter Maurice Utrillo.
Blair and Todd Maus will pour their award-winning Deering Wines at a complimentary wine & cheese reception.
“We named the vineyard Deering to honor the agricultural heritage of the family,” said Blair Maus, who is Deering’s great great granddaughter.
By my taste, their wines are hard to beat.
HAL’S HOMEOWNER HELP
This year is shaping up to be the speeddating version of real estate! If you are buying or selling, you don’t want to blink. Properties are once again getting offers on the first day. It would be my pleasure to list your home for you and educate you on the latest market trends.
Hal Feldman is a Realtor with RE/MAX Advance Realty. Contact him with your story ideas or real estate questions at <www.MiamiHal.com> , <Hal@MiamiHal.com> or <www.facebook.com/MiamiHal>.