Stone Crab Season is here! The opening of stone crab season (October 15th through May 15th) is accompanied by multiple outdoor festivals throughout Florida, and with the Florida stone crab there is much to celebrate. Often compared to lobster, and sold at similarly steep prices, stone crab claws are a local delicacy. Not only are they delicious, but they are also sustainable; half their meat is in their claws, allowing the rest of the crab to be spared.
The festivities begin this weekend with the Old Bay Cafe’s Craft Beer and Crab festival in Dunedin; Cooter’s 23rd annual crab fest in Clearwater; and Frenchy’s 32nd annual Stone Crab Weekend in Clearwater.
Frenchy’s 32nd annual Stone Crab Weekend: October 21-22, 2016 on Clearwater Beach
Frenchy’s hosts the longest running Stone Crab festival in the Tampa Bay area. The festivities will be spread out between Frenchy’s Original Café at 41 Baymont Street and Frenchy’s Saltwater Café on Pointsettia Avenue. The festival features discounted Stone Crab Claws and live music from The Black Honkeys, Jeriko Turnpike, and more. See the event page for the complete musical lineup: http://www.stonecrabweekend.com/. Frenchy’s Stone Crab Weekend is a quintessential Florida experience, set in Florida’s best beach town and celebrating one of its best food traditions. I highly recommend it. Note: All Frenchy’s restaurants will be selling Florida Stone Crab claws at reduced prices this weekend.
Olde Bay Café’s Craft Beer and Crab festival: October 22-23, 2016 in Dunedin’s Edgewater Park
Once a year, white tents and food and beverage trucks inundate Edgewater Park for a beautiful October weekend full of beer, crabs, and music. The Dunedin Craft Beer and Crab festival, started by the Olde Bay Café in 2012, is a relative newcomer on the scene. It shares many of the elements that make Frenchy’s stone crab festival great – stone crab claws, live music and a great location – but with more beer. Big Storm, Sea Dog, Coppertail, Shock Top, Stella, and The Tampa Bay brewing company are all helping sponsor the event this year. Local blues band, The Wendy Barmore Band, will be performing again this year, along with Caroline Kole, The Outpatients, and She’s That Dude. See the event page for details: http://www.oldebaycafe.com/.
Cooter’s 23rd Annual Crab Fest: October 20-23, 2016 at Cooter’s Restaurant & Bar on Clearwater Beach
Cooter’s Restaurant & Bar has been running their stone crab festival alongside Frenchy’s for many years. Like Frenchy’s, Cooter’s will be selling stone crab claws at close to wholesale prices this weekend, but Cooter’s will also be selling discounted King, Snow, and Dungeness crab this weekend. For the “ultimate culinary delight” Cooter’s recommends their Crab Feast Platter, a sampler of all the different crab varieties available. Joint Venture Beach Band and James Williams will be performing at this festival. See the event page for details: https://www.cooters.com/latest_news.html?ID=39.
John’s Pass Seafood & Music Festival: October 27-30 in the city of Madiera Beach
Next weekend John’s Pass is hosting its 35th annual seafood & music festival. Technically this is a full-on seafood festival, as opposed to just a stone crab fest, but stone crab claws are sure to be here along with a lot of other great seafood. John’s Pass was originally a fishing village, and I can’t think of a better location to host a seafood festival. There will be plenty of live music, with each day devoted to a different theme: Thursday is classic rock, Friday is a Halloween block party, Saturday is country, and Sunday is beach party music. See the event page for details: http://www.johnspass.com/index.php/seafood-festival/.
Stone Crab Festival: November 5, 2016 in Tarpon Spring’s Craig Park
The following weekend, the Tarpon Spring’s Rotary Club is hosting their first stone crab festival in Craig Park. Craig Park is a beautiful waterfront park in Tarpon Springs – perfect for a seafood festival. See the event page for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1306382689380332/. Note: The Sponge Docks Seafood Festival, also in Tarpon Springs, is being held the weekend after, on November 11-13, 2016: http://spongedocks.net/tarpon-springs-seafood-fest.htm.
There are enough local seafood festivals listed here in this one post for you to eat at a different one each week for the next 4 weeks. It’s a great time to get outside and eat some fresh Florida seafood.