Car show, sunshine, great food highlight Seafood Fest
Beautiful weather set the stage Saturday afternoon for visitors of the Matlacha Mariners’ annual Seafood Fest and Car Show.
The event featured fresh seafood dishes prepared by local restaurants, as well as unique cuisine like frog legs and ostrich burgers. Located at the German-American Social Club on Pine Island Road, the festival also offered a mix of vendors selling everything from food items, to clothing and jewelry. Along with the food and wares, a wide range of vehicles were on display, and local musical acts kept the crowd dancing.
Cape Coral resident Mark Hearn decided to check out the event for the first time with his 8-year-old son, Andrew. When asked why they decided to stop by, Hearn called himself and his son car enthusiasts.
“Cause we’re car guys. At least, I’m one,” he said with a smile. “I’m trying to make him one.”
Hearn said there was a good selection of vehicles on display at the show and some unusual ones, too. He picked a 1963 Chevy Impala convertible as his choice out of the bunch, while Andrew favored the old wooden trucks.
“It’s hard to pick one,” Hearn said of the vehicles.
Car show regulars, the father-son duo said they would definitely attend next year’s event.
“It’s a real nice show,” Hearn said. “It’s fantastic. I’m surprised at how big it is.”
Cape couples Don and Gale Tobin and Tom and Mary Lou Weiland were also first-timers at the event. A self-proclaimed car enthusiast, Tom Weiland said he came out for the show, friends and maybe some of the seafood.
“They’re beautiful. They’re sweet,” he said of the vehicles on display.
“I came for the sun and food,” Mary Lou Weiland said with a laugh.
Tom Weiland said the show offered a larger selection of vehicles than other events he has attended, as well as more unusual and older models. Fingering a 1955 Ford convertible as his top pick of the day, he said it was worth the $5 admission price to attend.
Not necessarily a can fanatic, Don Tobin said the vehicles caught his attention and eye.
“I like to look at the old cars,” he said, adding with a laugh. “I had some of them.”
Definitely a fan of one thing, Gale Tobin was looking forward to eating some “real” grouper.
Seafood and seafood festivals have been a running theme in Daniel and Brenda McDonald’s lives recently and Saturday was no exception. The Matlacha Mariners’ festival was the third event that the Port Charlotte couple had been to the last few weeks. They also attended seafood festivals in Placida and Fort Myers.
“It’s a Saturday. It gives us something to do,” Brenda McDonald said.
“It’s almost cheaper than a garage sale,” Daniel McDonald added with a grin. “Almost.”
The couple called the event “big,” “nice” and “open.” They said some of the other events had been too compact for the large crowd in attendance.
“So far it’s great,” Daniel McDonald said. “The people are good.”
After browsing the vendor stands, which was a highlight for Brenda, the couple planned to wander over to the car show. Not an enthusiast, per say, the show was one feature that Daniel wanted to check out.
“I just like to look at them,” he said.
Other non-locals who decided to spend their Saturday at the festival were Amy Powell, of Wyoming, and Dorothy Macleod, of Michigan. The two were down visiting family who live in the Cape, Powell said. Her brother-in-law’s father entered a 1966 GTO in the car show and the group decided to get of the house.
“Just something to do,” Powell said. “Hang out with the family.”
Macleod said she had her sights set on eating some shrimp. Coconut shrimp is her favorite.
Powell was excited to check out the food and the car show, and she loved the price of admission.
“It was pretty cheap to get in, reasonable pricing,” Powell said.
“It’s good,” she added of the event. “We’re having a good time. Lots to do, lots to see.”