PLACIDA — The Placida Rotary Club is bringing back its popular Nautical Flea Market and blue crab races this weekend along the waterfront of the historic fishing village at the Fishery Restaurant after a two-year absence.
The event was held annually for 11 years on the premises until 2010, when the Placida Rotary rebranded it as the Fall Festival, moved it to Ann Dever Memorial Regional Park on San Casa Boulevard, and held it in November.
The move ‘had mixed success,’ said Hoyt Fallin, chairman of this year’s event.
‘It was believed we would have better weather, more parking, and better attendance having it later in the fall,’ Fallin said. ‘We had mixed success with this change and decided to refocus on the … Fishery. Unfortunately, we were not able to reorganize this event in time to have it in 2011.’
The Nautical Flea Market has been a big fundraiser for the Placida Rotary, netting on average $15,000-$20,000 per year, all of which supported organizations located primarily in West Charlotte County.
This year, a beneficiary is Lemon Bay High School’s Project Graduation, which provides a safe and fun place for graduating seniors to celebrate their rite of passage locked down on graduation night in a local church.
‘We began discussions about bringing this event back shortly after the Seafood Festival in March,’ Fallin said. ‘Vendors were contacted, work teams organized and…we are looking forward to a successful event this year.’
The Nautical Flea Market 2012 will feature food, live music from noon to 5 p.m. both days, shopping for nautical antiques, fishing gear, collectibles, local crafts and a variety of boating accessories.
‘We of course will bring back the ever-popular Placida Crab Races,’ Fallin said. ‘This event is especially popular with children of all ages because it’s exciting, features live animals, and is the only event you can take home money from.’
Participants can sponsor a crab for $5. The winner takes home half the proceeds while the other half goes to charity.
‘The kids and the adults love it,’ said Brian Faro, Placida Rotary Club president. ‘Everyone gets so excited at the gate and they start running down. People are jumping and screaming. They enjoy the rush to see if their crab’s going to win.’
Musicians include the Caribbean reggae group Impulse and trop rock singer Jack Mosley on Saturday.
The Fishery businesses are excited that the Nautical Flea Market is returning, Faro said.
‘It does bring a large crowd down there which really helps them out,’ he said.
Admission is free with a $1 donation requested per person; parking is $2 across from the grounds to benefit Project Graduation.
The event will run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 13120 Fishery Road where Placida and Gasparilla roads meet in Placida.