KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — REEF Fest, a celebration of marine conservation's positive impact on the Florida Keys and around the world, enables ocean aficionados to experience social events, eco-adventures and presentations by renowned marine experts Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 28 through Oct. 1, in Key Largo.
Hosted by Key Largo-based nonprofit Reef Environmental Education Foundation, commonly called REEF, activities include a lineup of educational seminars, social gatherings, snorkeling, diving and eco-adventures on the water at America's best fish-filled coral reefs with some of the most prestigious names in marine conservation.
Festivities Thursday evening include a 6-9 p.m. kick-off social. The event is to feature a casual picnic dinner and a seminar on fisheries management and conservation with REEF Affiliate Scientist Dr. Stephanie Green at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center, mile marker 102 bayside.
Friday and Saturday are filled with morning diving, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking and glass-bottom boat tours with area outfitters. Afternoon presentations from ocean experts and evening social events also are on tap.
Saturday evening's 6-10 p.m. For the Love of the Sea dinner banquet features hors d'oeuvres, a three-course meal, full-service bar with locally crafted beer, music and a large silent auction. Sponsored by the nationwide Divers Alert Network, this is a ticketed event priced at $65 per person.
Sunday morning's schedule also offers diving and snorkeling trips. Ocean enthusiasts are encouraged to join REEF Fest's eco-adventures to learn more about the marine environment. A percentage of charter proceeds benefits REEF's ocean conservation programs.
All REEF Fest events are open to the public. Seminars held at the Murray Nelson Government Center are free, as are Thursday and Friday evening social events. Pre-registration online at reef.org/reeffest/registration is recommended.
Specially priced REEF Fest accommodations are available at Key Largo hotels. For a complete events schedule, visit REEF.org/REEFFest/schedule.
Event information: REEF.org/REEFFest or 305-852-0030
Key Largo visitor information: fla-keys.com/keylargo or 800-822-1088
REEF Fest includes snorkeling, diving and eco-adventures on the water at America's best fish-filled coral reefs with some of the most prestigious names in marine conservation. Image: Janice Carter/Scuba Diver Girls
Marine conservation's positive impact on the Florida Keys and around the world has included ways to manage the lionfish invasion into Atlantic waters. REEF sponsors educational workshops year-round.
Ocean enthusiasts are encouraged to join REEF Fest to learn more about the marine environment. Image: Tim Grollimund