Each year in late March, Old Cutler Road backs up with people hungry for some of the best seafood around. Their destination is the Deering Seafood Festival. The 444-acre estate has hosted this event for the past 9 years with crowds increasing every year as its reputation grows.
Dr. James Thomas, a Board Member for the Deering Estate Foundation, explains, “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. 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 event saw nearly nine thousand people visit the grounds to sample foods from twelve vendors. There were five celebrity chefs cooking demonstrations that allowed visitors to learn how to take some of the seafood festival tastes home with them.
Mary Pettit, Executive Director of the Deering Estate Foundation, said, “We have delicious food, all of which comes from local restaurants and vendors. We are always about quality and supporting our local economy.”
Entertainment included a kid’s zone with bounce houses, a stage with live music and a roving Bahamian Junkanoo Revue. Due to high winds the pontoon boat rides had to be dry docked, but that didn’t stop the food and fun. The nearly 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. Tim 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.”
Billy Martinez brought his friends, along with lawn chairs and a small table to take in the good eats, “I come here every year. It’s good stuff…the crawdads and all this spicy food. Golden Rule Seafood is my favorite.”