Mark your calendars: The 28th Annual Florida Keys Island Fest hits Islamorada on Saturday, April 6th and on Sunday, April 7th. The two-day arts and crafts show, which is open from 10am to 5pm, springs up at Founders Park at Mile Marker 87. If you’ve never been to this beautiful bayside respite, this is a perfect time to check it out.

During the annual Island Fest celebration, the park and beach area transform into an outdoor musical, artistic and green-market emporium with over 100 exceptional local and national artists, food vendors and terrific live entertainment.

What I really like about this festival is that the artwork and handcrafts are not only top quality but are also very affordable which makes it a great place to pick up a unique Keys keepsake.

Besides strolling the art show and grooving to live music, you can take in an old-fashioned All-American Road Vintage Cruisers Car Show showcasing some very cool cars, trucks, motorcycles and rat rods. Kids can also have their own beachside fun painting, building sand sculptures and competing in hula-hoop contests beneath kite-filled skies.

One of Saturday’s special highlights is a wacky “What Floats Your Boat” race where a fleet of homemade “boats” sets sail from the beach and struggles to stay above water. This event is always a real hoot and is later followed by a bayside concert from 5 -7pm at the park’s waterfront amphitheater.

Needless to say, Festival Saturday is always lots of fun but truth be told, my favorite day is Sunday during the annual “Taste Of Islamorada.” This friendly culinary competition between local restaurants is your chance to sample lots of scrummy appetizers, entrees and desserts. If you’re a dedicated foodie like I am, be sure to buy plenty of “tasting” tickets because you’ll have a lot of delectable bites to choose from.

All of the festival’s events take place rain or shine. Admission is free and there’s on-site parking available for a small $5 donation. BTW: Organizers suggest that you bring lawn chairs and blankets so that you can fully enjoy the beach and concert. For more info, go to or call 305-664-4503.

Hope to see you there!