Seafood, Sunshine and Steel Drums

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Do you know one of my favorite things about living in Florida?

Seafood, fresh delicious seafood.  Pair that with live music, side walk cafes and people watching and you have a reason to take a day trip.

When I heard that St. Armand’s Circle was hosting the 3rd annual St. Armand’s Seafood and Music Festival Labor Day weekend I jumped in the car, took the top down and headed north.

St Armand’s Circle, located in Sarasota FL, is nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. It’s home to over 130 shops, galleries and restaurants.  Although the shopping is on the “upscale” side, the circle is filled with lush flowers, statues and plenty of outdoor patios to relax and grab something to drink.  

St. Armand’s Circle was founded by circus magnate, John
Ringling and his influence is seen by the many Italian statues lining the
circle and the “Circus Ring of Fame” honoring circus performing legends.

One of the great things about St. Armand’s Circle is plenty
of free parking on the weekends.

The center of the circle was a sea of food vendors preparing seafood, meat and vegetarian entrees cooked fresh onsite. This wasn’t about tasting, it was about eating. The portions were large and most included sides. If you are a seafood lover like I am, the smell of shrimp steaming in Old Bay reminds me how lucky I am to live on the coast.

There was also plenty of drink selections and dessert. The fresh ice cold juice was refreshing on a hot May day.

I couldn’t pass up the Lobster Roll from Duval’s Fresh Local Seafood. The tender rich chunks of lobster were divine!

Seafood, Sunshine and Steel Drums

Florida is hot this time of year but relaxing under a shady tree, eating lobster and listening to live music makes it tolerable.  The sound of Steel Drums filled the air and I’m transported to a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. The musical performers varied and included Mike Tozier’s Blues, Big Night Out’s Latin Funk and Sarasota Steel Pan Band’s Steel drum.

Seafood, Sunshine and Steel Drums

Eventually it was time to cool off so I wandered the circle in search of a “bite” of something sweet. Choulala Pastries was just what I was looking for. These little French pastries are crunchy on the outside and filled with gooey deliciousness on the inside. Of course, I chose dark chocolate.

Seafood, Sunshine and Steel Drums
Seafood, Sunshine and Steel Drums

The St Armand’s Seafood and Music Festival was a three-day event, free to attend and surprisingly not crowded.  Bring your appetite.

Next year I’ll try the scallops.

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