The Flying Fish Festival

MargotBlackCatalina20081 The Flying Fish Festival MargotBlackCatalina200811 The Flying Fish Festival
MargotBlackCatalina20083 The Flying Fish Festival MargotBlackCatalina200819 The Flying Fish Festival
MargotBlackCatalina200816 The Flying Fish Festival MargotBlackCatalina200821 The Flying Fish Festival
Santa Catalina Island, (more commonly, just Catalina), rises visibly above the horizon 22 miles off the Southern California coast — but it feels a world away. This quaint, 22-mile-long island with Mediterranean charm has a population of about 4,000, but receives nearly one million visitors each year to its rocky shores.

This spring, Catalina Island debuted its first ever Flying Fish Festivalin celebration of the annual return of their famous flying fish. I realized I had never seen a flying fish before, much less the famous ones at Catalina. And so there was only one thing to do — we boarded the Catalina Express and headed off to a four-day festival packed with family fun.

THE FLYING FISH FESTIVAL
The Flying Fish Festival kicked off with a Taste Around of Avalon.Avalon is the main town center of Catalina, a picturesque seaside town featuring cute restaurants and shops and the island’s main harbor, filled with visiting yachts in season. Taste Around was a chance to explore some of Avalon’s eateries (it felt like almost all of them) and taste their heralded menu items — all in one night. As we purchased our tasting tickets, we were handed a scorecard. Restaurants were judged on either food or drink. One entry was far and above all others in the competition, both in taste and presentation — the Restaurante Villa Portofino. There, bartender Aaron Pitts created a decadent drink called a Raspberry Lemon Drop. I voted for it and I’m happy to say it won. Ristorante Villa Portofino, 101 Crescent Avenue, Santa Catalina Island, CA, Tel: 310-510-2009.

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