Blazing Mako to Light up Florida Keys Night

ISLAMORADA in the Fla. Keys – “It will be a spectacular sight,” said renowned Keys marine artist Roberto “Pasta” Pantaleo of the massive metal shark sculpture he’s creating to be torched in a beachfront bonfire celebration during the Blazing Mako Tournament and Festival over Father’s Day weekend at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost in the heart of Islamorada, Florida.

The “trash to treasure” mako shark creation is the largest metal sculpture of Pantaleo’s career — its length continues to grow — as he welds pieces of pig iron, reclaimed steel plates and an assorted mixture of cast-off alloys. Its hollow inside will be stuffed with flammables and set ablaze Saturday evening, June 18th at the Islander beach for the signature event, expected to be seen for miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Art enthusiasts and the curious are invited to watch the mako’s metamorphosis at Pantaleo’s gallery at mile marker 81.5, U.S. 1 Oceanside.

Billed as offering “art, music and more,” other festival weekend events include a 100 tent Artist and “Conch-servation” Village, kid’s pier fishing tournament, rum and beer tastings, fishing seminars, offshore and inshore fishing tournaments,  a paddleboard poker run, silent auction and live music performances, including Saturday night headliner, The Shane Duncan Band. Other musicians on the NSU Mako Stage include Jess Atkin, Steve Webb, Nick Kimball, Michael Trixx, Rob Smith, Billy Davidson and at poolside Lung.

This year’s Bonfire Festival and Tournament comes ashore from the Bahamas where the event has been held for the past three years. The goal is to raise $100,000 for marine science scholarships at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.  The Blazing Mako theme for the Islamorada festival celebrates the NSU’s mascot — the mako shark – and the cutting edge shark research underway at the Guy Harvey Research Institute.  Visit and for more info. 

Free Artist & Conch-servation Village   

“The festival’s Conch-servation Village is a great venue to learn more about the research and education work underway to conserve our ocean resources and the artists working to bring the undersea world into everyday life,” said Greg Jacoski, Executive Director of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. Along with Pasta’s Signature Gallery, the blanketing of artist tents on the Islander beachfront will include the David Wirth Gallery, Craig Dietrich Underwater Photography, Alison Studios, Everglades Trash Art, Cosmopolitan Jewels, Sea Lustre Jewelry, BJ Royster Ocean Gallery, Figlinski Art, Just Mine Creations, Bomar, Kyle Pearce, Fronds and Things, Colls Fine Art Photography, Russell Gulick Art, Anastasia Musick Art Studio, Island Art Guy, Kathleen Hrad, Mel Smothers, Treasures By Alicia, Dead Wood Studios, Marcy Grosso Fine Art, Derrick Crossland, Robin Marsh Metalwork, Lisa Kaw, Eileen Seitz Fine Art, Inc., Born of Water, Sobel Designs, R&W Madman Creations, Unique Arts and Crafts, Touch of Key West Photography, Steve Vaughn Panoramic Photography, Mischievous Mermaid, Kilburn’s Kustoms, Captain Steven Ferrell Inc., Starfish Designs, Boho Naturals Co., Fossil Lamps, Turtle Lady Artist Susan Roberts and more!

Among the conservation groups to be showcased in Conch-servation Village is The Everglades Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Everglades and its surrounding estuaries to a natural state allowing clean water to flow, while providing a reliable water supply to Florida residents. “It’s a unique ecosystem,” said foundation spokesman Stephen Davis, “with a water supply providing economic, recreational and life-sustaining benefits to millions of people in Florida.”

The long list of other conservation, governmental and NGOs featured will include the Everglades Conservation & Clean Up Coalition (ECCC), REEF, Marrvelous Pet Rescues, Coral Restoration Foundation, Fla. Keys National Marine Sanctuary/NOAA, Bonefish Tarpon Trust, Bay and Reef Company of the Fla. Keys, Fla. Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, The Turtle Hospital and Fish to Make a Difference, Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing and DEEPEND.

Rum Village offers special rum tastings for adults at $20 per person

A Rum Village will be part of the beachfront events with $20 adult tickets for special tastings. Included are Black Coral Rum, Tiburon Rum, Papa’s Pilar, Bayou Rum, Gubba Rum, Goslings, Tortuga Rum Cakes, Yolo Rum, Code Rum, Pusser’s Rum, Bahama Blue, Fla. Keys Brewing Co. and Saltwater Brewery.   Just steps away retailers include Hook & Hunt Outdoor Lifestyle, Aquablue Marine Products, Maui Wowi, and One Stop Hats.

For more on the festival weekend go online to or call 800-513-5257.