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Seafood takes center stage

Saturday's Hernando Beach Seafood Festival promises large portions and low prices.

Visitors will feast on crab cakes, clam chowder, shrimp, smoked mullet, hot dogs, hamburgers and funnel cake for less than what they would pay in a restaurant, said Ron Hoffer of Hernando Beach Marina, a sponsor of the event.

The bounty will be prepared by members of Hernando Beach Yacht Club and is the main draw at the festival, which is designed to highlight the area's livelihood.

But food isn't the only thing on the agenda. There also will be free pontoon boat rides during the festival, which will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the yacht club, 4163 Shoal Line Blvd.

The boat will leave periodically from the club and travel to the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and back. Anyone interested in riding should arrive early. More than 3,000 people lined up for the opportunity last year.

"I had three boats running all day," Hoffer said.

Anglers can learn more about their favorite sport from those who know it best. Four Mariner Pro Team guides will present fishing seminars from noon to 4 p.m.

Bob McCue, who holds several world fishing records, will discuss fishing for tarpon. Mr. Trout will advise about trout fishing in the flats. Bill Eaton will talk about flat fishing, and Frank Bourgeois will discuss grouper fishing.

About 25 to 30 boats will be on display at Hernando Beach Marina, 4139 Shoal Line Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Factory representatives from Key West, Playbuoy and Spectrum will be on hand to answer questions.

Landlubbers can browse through the more than 40 craft booths, or exhibit their own work. Ten- by 10-foot booths are available right up to the day of the event. The cost is $20. Exhibitors must bring their own tables.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Hernando Beach Seafood Festival

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Hernando Beach Yacht Club, 4163 Shoal Line Blvd., Hernando Beach

COST: Free admission

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