After being selected one of the Top 100 Events in the Southeastern U.S.A. in 2011 and 2012, and named one of Florida’s Top 10 Food Festivals by BizBash Media, the staff and volunteers at the Deering Estate Foundation have been working overtime to keep the festival unique.
What keeps people returning to the festival each year, and others eager to attend for the first time, is the wholesome family experience created at the historic Deering Estate at Cutler, on the biggest backyard on the Bay.
To fully experience the Deering Seafood Festival many guests plan to spend the day. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., visitors of all ages can be entertained with music, art and nature activities, while savoring Florida’s freshest fish and seafood prepared in an infinite number of delectable dishes.
At the Estate’s entrance, towering stilt walkers and the sounds of steel drums greet visitors. Once inside the property the magic happens. Free-spirited Bahamian Junkanoo musicians playfully dance throughout the crowd, and the bands Code Red and Caribbean Crew performs reggae/calypso music on the main stage. This year the Mosquito Heads reunite with friends to close out the day. Pontoon boat rides are available aboard the Pelican Skipper for those who want to cruise on Biscayne Bay to Chicken Key. An Artists Village features paintings, photography, crafts and jewelry by local artists, and naturalists conduct tours of the historic homes.
A one-day food emporium will be created on Seafood Alley with shrimp, lobster, oysters, conch, crab and other treasures from the sea that are broiled, boiled, steamed, fried, seared or sautéed. Some of the restaurants and caterers participating are Golden Rule Seafood Market, Devon Seafood + Steak, Whole Foods Market-Coral Gables, Rodbender’s Raw Bar and Grill, Imlee Indian Bistro, Black Point Ocean Grill, Shibui Japanese Restaurant and Paella Party. For land lovers, Sports Grill is on hand with their famous wings and burgers.
Under the big top tent sponsored by Whole Foods Market-Coral Gables, local executive chefs hold cooking demonstrations and Jonny Rose is the emcee. The chef lineup includes Damian Gilchrist of the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Samir Canaan from Truluck’s Seafood Steak & Crab House and Joseph McCarthy, sous chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room. Following the demonstration, attendees receive a copy of the recipe, a sample of the food prepared and engage in a Q&Awith each chef. For the second year, the winner of Johnson & Wales University’s Student Seafood Competition recreates the winning recipe at the festival. Throughout the day, fellow J & W culinary students assist all of the chefs in food preparation, serving and clean up. Adding to the experience, a sommelier from Crown Wine & Spirits discusses wine pairings and offers tastings following each cooking demonstration.
Just inside the main gate children can pick up their passports to the Deering Discovery Cove, a hands-on adventure created by the Estate’s Educational and Interpretive Staff, where they’ll visit the “Five Oceans of the World.” As scientists-in-training, kids explore specific migratory species that inhabit each ocean, collect plankton and observe a plankton pool, paint with algae, fish and shells, and dissect a crawfish. There is a Mad Scientist station where they will run experiments and test the properties of water, and learn about climate change and pollution. The Kids Zone also offers unlimited fun on inflatables, and serves kid-friendly food.
The Deering Estate at Cutler is a Miami- Dade County park, located at 16701 SW 72 Avenue. Admission: Adults $15 in advance online/ $25 the day of the event; Children 4- 14 years $5; and foundation members will be admitted free.
For more information, call 305-235-1668, ext. 263, or go to www.deeringseafoodfestival.org. Proceeds benefit the Deering Estate Foundation.