The threat of rain failed to dampen the high spirits of the overflowing crowd attending the fifth annual Longboat Key Historical Society Old Time Fish Fry Oct. 16, at Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub, in the Village. It was the perfect opportunity for returning snowbirds to catch up on the latest Key news and share their summer experiences. Entertaining the crowd as they arrived were The Island Rockers, a group of elementary-school-aged musicians. Blues Pig, led by police Capt. Steve Mislyan, played energetic music into the night for listening and dancing.
The fish-fry buffet was plentiful, enticing attendees with fried mullet and grouper and traditional Southern favorites, including cheese grits, collard greens with ham, butter beans and sweet-potato pie for dessert.
For those with big appetites, seconds were available. Although the party officially ended at 9 p.m., many stayed longer to enjoy the conversation and companionship.
But, before the night came to a close, there was one thing left to do: the raffle contest. The grand-prize winner of a basket of liquors and wine donated by Whitney Beach Deli & Wines was Gwen Salter, who was visiting from Lincolnshire, England, on her first trip to America to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her parents, Georgina and Stanley Evans.
“I feel so lucky,” Salter said.
Salter said that she liked the fish-fry tradition so much that she plans to suggest a fish fry to her ladies group in England.
Serving again as event co-chairs were Jim and Phyllis McGuire. Proceeds benefit the Longboat Key Historical Society, which is headed by Mike Doll. The fish-fry tradition began more than a half-century ago when the Ladies Auxiliary of the Volunteer Fire Department organized numerous fish-fries, with proceeds benefiting the department. Funds generated helped to build a fire station in 1955 on the north end, which remained in service until the mid-1990s.
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