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A salty feast slips into port

As the name says, it's the Homosassa Arts, Crafts and Seafood Festival.

With its rich heritage in fishing and fine dining, Homosassa boasts a well-earned reputation for serving the finest in fresh seafood.

At the Arts and Seafood Festival, the food vendors represent both seafood and standard fare.

Topping the list of local favorites is Jenny Wang's Misty River Seafoods of Homosassa. She offers the "Sea Flower" onion, which is a large onion sliced open, battered and deep fried in a flavorful breading. A dipping sauce in the center makes the onion simply irresistible. Misty River Seafoods also offers grouper burgers and popcorn shrimp.

From Lecanto, Joe Ronzo's Back Bay Cafe offers crab cakes, spicy shrimp and conch fritters. For the uninitiated, conch is a shellfish.

Want more seafood? Then Carl Steiner's Hometown Concessions is the next stop. There, diners can find both shrimp and crab stir-fry, chicken stir-fry and veggie teriyaki.

Rose and Lee Kalapian's Natural Health Hut of Zephyrhills will offer their "Fresh Fruit Festival," complemented by yogurt cones and yogurt sundaes.

Remember, this is a two-day festival, so any seafood vendors you missed on Saturday will be tempting your taste buds again Sunday.

Cindy Negio's C&S Concessions from St. Petersburg will serve grouper subs, African snook, seafood pitas and a South Seas salad with fruit smoothies to cleanse the palate.

Chuck Stock and Just Rite Foods from Orange Park will feature Olde English fish and chips. Tami and Kim Reed with Reed's Festival Foods of Sarasota will have seafood tropical stir-fry, with pineapple and mango, and tropical chicken stir-fry.

Another popular seafood attraction is Chris Proctor's Shark & Alligator Shack out of Moultrie, Ga., serving alligator kebabs, shark kebabs and fluffy fries.

Still more seafood? Greg Firestone's Golden Gate Foods will have shrimp kabobs, fried calamari, crab fritters, seafood medley, and for landlubbers, a steak sandwich.

Grilled dolphin pita and chicken divine will be served at Fort Lauderdale's San Francisco Puffs.

A new addition for this year will be the Bangkok House, with shrimp fried rice, egg noodle stir-fry and chicken sesame.

For dessert, try a Tropical Sno-Cone from Robert Eades of Crystal River. Also featured will be slush-puppies. Cassie's Snow Balls will have dessert and shrimp fritters and funnel cakes.

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