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Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Festival funding gets 2nd look

DUCK KEY -- Marathon's tourism advisory board this week will revisit a controversial vote that cut funding to the Original Marathon Seafood Festival by $20,000.

The Tourist Development Council's District Advisory Committee 3 will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Hawks Cay Resort.

The Middle Keys DAC sparked outrage in August when, in a 5-3 vote, board members allocated $30,000 in funds for the annual seafood festival, down from the $50,000 that event organizer the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce received for the 2013 installment.

The event is a popular one, but because it falls in already-busy March, it does little to increase occupancy rates in Marathon, said TDC Executive Director Harold Wheeler, who endorsed the funding cut.

"We're here to put heads in beds," Wheeler said in August.

The Marathon DAC also endorsed promotional funding for four other events, including $30,000 for this year's Fantasy Fest, up from $10,000 for last October's celebration.

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