Visitors, organizers applaud two festivals

In back-to-back weekends under picture-perfect skies, two recent festivals enlivened this end of the county. The Port Salerno Seafood Festival along Manatee Pocket, in its fifth year, and the Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts, celebrating its tenth anniversary, brought thousands of visitors to this area.
Port Salerno’s John Hennessee, a seafood festival organizer and chairman of the Martin County Community Development Agency, boasted during a March 16 CRA meeting that “this year’s festival is one of the best we’ve had so far.”

The estimated number of attendees was in excess of 35,000, and the Port Salerno Commercial Fishing Dock Authority collected more than $17,000 at the gate during the one-day festival Jan. 29..The funds will defray costs and a percentage will go to various local charities.

The seafood fest included performances by local bands and a first-ever Little Miss Mermaid beauty pageant in addition to its traditional seafood fare and artisan booths.

Wayne Klick, the Hobe Sound representative on the CRA, announced at the same CRA meeting that this year’s revenue from the two-day Hobe Sound Art Festival on Feb. 5-6 exceeded last year’s, and though he did not have a count of the number of visitors since the festival is free, he could attest that there were “good crowds” both days.

Booths lined both sides of A1A, and an expanded “Kids Zone” this year was met with great enthusiasm—by parents, as well as kids.
The art fest is the major fund-raising event of the year for the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce. The “presenting” sponsor of the festival for the third, consecutive year was Family Private Care, Inc., of Hobe Sound.

Those who attended said they were “surprised” and “quite pleased” with both the variety of artists, which numbered more than 150, many of whom also were quite pleased with their results, vowing to come back next year.