Sea fans, get ready for the 6th Annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival & Waterfront Craft Show — a free day of ocean-themed education and fun from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, 35 East Quay Road at Truman Waterfront in Key West.

The Festival benefits coral reef restoration and research by Mote Marine Laboratory, supporting the Lab’s Protect Our Reefs program. Any time of year, you can support coral restoration and research by Mote and others by purchasing a Protect Our Reefs license plate.

Reefs around the world face multiple threats ranging from climate change and ocean acidification to pollution and disease. To help reefs recover, Mote has been working to understand, protect and restore reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for more than a decade through efforts based at its research facility on Summerland Key, which recently announced exciting new plans for expansion. The Ocean Festival helps support Mote’s work while bringing oceans to life for the community.

The Festival will feature more than 100 booths featuring environmental education and conservation, touch pools with live marine animals, shopping, crafts, food, local artwork and more. Visitors can enjoy music by Howard Livingston and the MM24 band, participate in a major silent auction, see marine artist Wyland paint with kids and then create paintings live for auction, enjoy a kids’ fishing seminar and get raffle tickets for a cool custom paddleboard.

In partnership with the Ocean Festival, the annual 5K Tuna Trot Race for the Reef will take place at 8 a.m. on April 4, leaving from the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. Advance registration is $25 for adults, $15 for children 12 & under, and free for children who participate with a registered adult. Price increases by $5 on race day. Learn more from the event Facebook page and click here to register.

Mote thanks the participating organizations and sponsors for this year’s Ocean Festival:

Participating organizations:
Mote Marine Lab, Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, Bahia Honda State Park, Department of Environmental Protection, Dolphin Research Center, FAVOR, FKCC Marine Sciences, Florida Keys Mosquito Control, Florida Keys National Marine Santuary TEAM OCEAN, Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Keys SPCA, Fury Water Adventures, FWC, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, History of Diving Museum, Key West Maritime  Historical Society, Keys Marine Lab, Monroe County Extension Service: Horticulture, Monroe County Extension: Marine Science, National Weather Service, Pigeon Key Foundation, Reef Relief, Save -a-Turtle, Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, The Turtle Hospital, U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, SeaCamp, Scubanauts International, Key West Parrothead Club and Wyland Foundation.

NOAA, Key TV, Stock Island Marina, Monroe County Tourist Development Council, Coca-Cola, First State Bank, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, Wyland Foundation, Blue Heaven, Shark Bites at the Southernmost Point, Pier House, Tavern n Town Restaurant, U.S. Coast Guard, Keys Federal Credit Union, Lower Keys Bait & Tackle, Ocean Walk Properties, Little Palm Island, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Keys Weekly, Galleon Resort, Okuma, Bombora Vodka, Key West Harbor Service & Tow Boat US, Reef Safe Suncare, Fury Water Adventures, Keys Energy, Ocean Key Resort – Key West, Westin Key West Resort, Centennial Bank, Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center and Mote’s Protect Our Reefs Program.