It’s March which means season has arrived and the Original Marathon Seafood Festival ( is here!  We hope to see you all at Marathon Community Park March 8th & 9th for our 38th Marathon Seafood Festival.  What a milestone!  To think this all started in 1976 with a few local commercial fishermen and their families wanting to throw a little fish-fry for each other.  Now, the Marathon Seafood Festival consists of over 21,000 festival guests, live entertainment and over 200 vendors, along with art booths, and boats.  Please also be sure to visit our brand new (and improved) Marathon Seafood Festival website; done here locally by chamber-members Eye Partner, Inc.  Our new site will even better promote and brand Marathon’s premier event, while providing visitors, locals, vendors, etc. valuable information about the event via their computers as well as smart phones.


The Marathon Seafood Festival brings in thousands of out-of-county guests each year to our Island having a $1,000,000.00+ economic impact each year on our businesses and community.  Relating to economic impact and working with our visitors I am extremely proud of the amazing job the staff in our Marathon Chamber & Visitor Center does; especially during busy times like now.  As some of you may know we have a contract with the Monroe County Tourist Development Council (TDC) to operate our Visitor Center.  It is with their support we are able to operate our Visitor Center so effectively while promoting our local businesses. Some great factoids about your Marathon Visitor Center are:


  • Visitors who stopped in the Marathon Visitor Center extended their stay by an average of three-days; this resulted in total additional visitor spending (includes accommodations) to the tune of $6.2+ million/year!
  • Marathon Visitor Center refers about 250+ visitors/day (includes walk-ins, emails and phone calls) during high season and about 120+/day the rest of the year.
    • = $1.65 Million in visitor spending/year as a result of your Marathon Visitor Center providing visitor information services! Remember this only involves spending on items other than accommodations; such as dining, shopping, attractions, fishing, etc.


To recap: We bring in about $6.2 Million/year in additional visitor spending (visitors who lengthen their stay due to our services) & about $1.65 Million/year in overall visitor spending excluding accommodations.

    • If you include accommodations along with all other spending as well as additional visitor spending, then the annual total for visitor spending via your Marathon Visitor Center is about $13,110,000.00!

By providing quality customer service and quality information about Marathon and the Middle Keys our staff has been able to help visitors extend their stay resulting in additional spending and revenues for local businesses. In addition, our services result in visitors patronizing our local businesses they may not have otherwise thought to visit.

I am extremely honored to have such a talented and hard working staff; both in our Visitor Center and back in the Chamber offices.  We will continue to work hard to show our visitors a great time, as well as for your (local business members) benefit.  Thank you and see ya’ll at the Seafood Festival (March 8-9) in a few days!

Most Respectfully,

Daniel Samess


Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce

(305) 743-5417

Scroll to Top