The Naples Stone Crab Festival didn’t exist in Naples five years ago, however its traditions lie deep in Southwest Florida’s culinary traditions and the local fishing industry.
Stone crabbing has been a major part of the fishing industry for years in Southwest Florida, with Naples and Everglades City at the heart of this. Eating stone crab claws are considered a local delicacy, as they are quite expensive, yet have a delicious, unique, sweet flavor that is so good, that they can be eaten as is.
The only part of the stone crab eaten are the claws, which have already been cooked and prepared on the boat before they were sold. When they are served at a restaurant, a person’s home or at a festival like the Stone Crab Festival, the crabs are served cold as an appetizer, already cracked, with a dipping sauce and lemon or lime wedges.
In the five years that the Stone Crab Festival has existed, it has transformed into an event that celebrates not only the stone crab culinary tradition, but Southwest Florida heritage and the Naples community as a whole.
At the festival there are many outdoor booths selling stone crab claws by the claw for guests, there are booths with local people selling art, clothing, jewelry, salsas and spice rubs, cookies, and other restaurants selling barbecue, and other dishes inspired by the local cuisine and culinary traditions.
There are also booths for local charities that you can donate to, and also learn more about what they do to benefit the community.
In addition to arts, crafts, food and non-profit booths, the Stone Crab Festival also features live performances by local bands and dancers. This is a great chance for any traveler to learn more about the local performing arts scene.
The types of music bands performed this year included rock and country. In regards to dancers, there was a professional group, and also a local dance studio which had some of its brightest students perform group and solo routines in modern ballet, contemporary, and hip hop dances to the audience’s delight.
What also make the Stone Crab Festival more than just a festival about stone crabs and also about the local community is its location within Naples. The Stone Crab Festival is held at Tin City and at Bayfront, two major areas along the waterfront area of Downtown Naples. Tin City is already a major attraction without the Stone Crab Festival, however, the fact that the festival is held there also helps to introduce them to this part of town.
Tin City, a former building that was at the heart of the fishing industry back in the late 19th century and early 20th century, was converted into a shopping mall in the 1970s. The shops located here are all, small local shops with tropical inspired gifts, local art, jewelry, bohemian beach attire and novelty clothing inspired by the tropics, local-made wine, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and one of the few existing magic shops in the United States.
There are also several restaurants located here, serving local seafood, deli fare and The Monkey Bread Factory, which serves pastries and coffee inspired by local flavors and tastes. This is also the home base for Pure Naples, a company that offers sightseeing tours and other unique boating opportunities for visitors to see the area at its finest. One of the benefits of the Stone Crab Festival is that it not only attracts visitors to Tin City to see the shops and dine at the restaurants, but also to take the boat tours with Pure Naples.
Going on a boat tour during the Stone Crab Festival is ideal because Pure Naples offers discounts to anyone who decides to take tours with them during the days it is held. Other surrounding businesses, like the Naples Trolley, the Naples Princess and Naples Segway Tours, also offer discounts to guests who wish to take tours with them during the Stone Crab Festival.
The businesses along Bayfront also offer deep discounts during the Stone Crab Festival that are very beneficial to visitors who come to Naples during that time period. For example, the marina associated with the Naples Bay Resort offers discounts to anyone who wishes to rent a boat, kayak or jet ski during the days that the Stone Crab Festival is held.
Additionally, the Naples Bay Resort offers a special room rate for guests who wish to stay at their hotel during the time period that the Stone Crab Festival is held.
The Stone Crab Festival is held annually at Tin City and Bayfront every October, starting Friday evening and ending on Sunday evening. It is free and open to the public. Stone crab claw vendors can be found at Tin City and Bayfront during the festival.
They sell medium and jumbo crab claws by the claw. Jumbo claws are normally $8.00 each, while medium crab claws are $3.00 each. For more information on the Stone Crab Festival, please their website at http://www.stonecrabfestival.org/.
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