Adventure lovers can celebrate the late Mel Fisher, who sought and salvaged the shipwrecked Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, Friday and Saturday, July 15-16, during Mel Fisher Days in his longtime “home port.”
Fisher and his crew uncovered a $450 million cache of Atocha treasure and artifacts in July 1985 after a 16-year search. The galleon sank about 35 miles southwest of Key West during a 1622 hurricane. Fisher’s son Kim Fisherleads the ongoing search for Atocha artifacts and treasures that still remain undiscovered.
Festival attendees can explore the Fisher family’s 90-foot working salvage boat J.B. Magruder, take behind-the-scenes tours of the family’s private artifact conservation lab, meet some of the crew that found the Atocha’s riches and rock at a block party that recalls Mel’s exuberant spirit.
Friday’s highlights include a 5-9 p.m. kick-off party with the Atocha’s “golden crew” at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St., in Key West’s Historic Seaport. The Magruder will be docked behind the bar and open for tours from4:30 to 7 p.m. For tour registration, visit www.melfisherdays.com.
Among the evening’s other attractions are a live auction, contests with prizes including an authentic Atocha coin, music and the presentation of the annual Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award.
Exclusive guided tours of the conservation laboratory at Mel Fisher’s Treasures, 200 Greene St., will be offered all day. The adventure moves to the 200 block of Key West’s Front Street for Saturday’s 6-10 p.m. Mel Fisher Days “Party Like a Local” Block Party. The fun includes a free concert, food and drink vendors, dancing and a silent auction with “bounty” ranging from treasure to travel.
One partygoer wearing a 2016 Mel Fisher Days T-shirt will win a treasure chest filled with $2,500 in silver dollars. T-shirts can be purchased starting July 11 at Mel Fishers 200 Greene St. or 613 Duval St. locations, or during the Friday and Saturday events.
All net proceeds from Mel Fisher Days festivities benefit the Florida Keys’ Wesley House Family Services.
Event schedule, costs and registration: www.melfisherdays.com