Sign me up By Kristen Livengood
Seafood fest a well-oiled machine because of volunteers
Volunteers are the life blood of any successful event or fundraiser, and with more than 500 volunteers donating thousands of hours each year, the Original Marathon Seafood Festival generates the manpower to create the most successful event in Marathon year after year. Josh Struyf, who graduated from Marathon High School in ’99 has been a volunteer at the festival since he was 12 years old. “My dad was a fisherman, so my parents were involved with the event for 25-30 years,” he said about his position as the coordinator of the drink booth, which he and 15 of his closest friends and family man during the two-day festival. “We are a part of it, we always have been.” Before him his mom, Debbie, made sure the booth was always stocked with the some of the best volunteers in the Keys, including locals like Whitney Simmons and Rodney Altman. Those two instituted the practice of cutting apart every six-pack of plastic rings, just in case they were to ever blow out of the trashcans and hurt the local wildlife. Family, like Annie Ehrenberg, help the booth run smooth, “she’s like the general,” he said. Although Struyf lives in Ft. Lauderdale now, he returns each year to volunteer with his girlfriend and son at the back corner tent that exclusively slings soda and bottled water. “My daughter Kaya lives here and we are all a part of this community,” he said. “It’s a generational family event and it’s something I remember fondly from when I was a kid.” Plus, to make the deal even better, volunteers are always admitted free AND they get a sweet seafood fest T-shirt. Daniel Samess, CEO of the Marathon Chamber of Commerce, and co-organizer of the event said volunteers are so important; without them, there would be no seafood fest. “It is a community effort, and part of that effort is the hard work and amazing dedication of our volunteers each year who make the event so great for the locals and visitors,” he said. “We are so grateful for our volunteers.”
2016 Marathon Seafood Festival
KRISTEN LIVENGOOD/ Keys Weekly The beverage booth tent volunteers come back year after year to help at the event.