Goodland Mullet Festival celebrating its 25th birthday

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Mullet Festival

When: Saturday and Sunday

Where: Downtown Goodland, centered around Stan’s Idle Hour Restaurant

Cost: Outdoor festival is free

— A few decades ago, Stan Gober, musician and restauranteur, decided tiny Goodland on the southern end of Marco Island needed a festival of its own.

Everglades City had one as did Naples, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers Beach.

Since shrimp and seafood and even snook were taken, Goodland picked the lowly mullet -- lowly in some circles -- to be the centerpiece.

Add to that a black-and-white feathered costume, a unique dance and a catchy song — all of Gober’s creation — and you have a popular festival ready to celebrate its 25th birthday.

Arrive early if this weekend’s Goodland Mullet Festival is on your list of things to do. Festival goers usually are packed to the — pardon us — gills.

The festival highlight has long been the Buzzard Lope Queen Contest.

Gober penned a song called “The Buzzard Lope” and became famous by performing it in a feathered buzzard costume. The winner of the queen contest is the lady who dances the “best” buzzard lope.

Besides music and buzzard loping, there will be fried mullet dinners, dozens of other food choices and an ample supply of beer,

There’s usually a fish-cleaning contest and on occasion a mullet-tossing event.

Stan’s Idle Hour restaurant is the center of the Mullet Festival action, but the entire community gets involved. Stan’s opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The festival officially begins at noon each day and runs until the last buzzard drops.

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Comments » 11

artrules writes:

hey SaraBeth.. you might want to read this article and it doesn't even scratch the surface of what Stan has done.

artrules writes:

We know many of the locals who live in Goodland and we spend alot of time in Goodland. Alot of the locals work for Stan's and the other surrounding restaurants and members of the community who sell their wares and charge for parking during the festival benefit from the income that is generated during the festival. The fisherman who live in the village benefit from the profits of the mullet, which I believe is the reason Stan started the festival all those years ago but I would have to check on that one. The entire community benefits from the festival when people come from around the state and see what a great place Goodland is and they continue to visit Goodland and spend money in the establishments which benefit the community. The festival is usually cleared out before dark because Stan's closes at around 5:00. Oh, and most of the locals come out and support the festival because it's really a great time.

BTW... ElkcamEye, I wasn't acting like an "imbecile" I was simply posting a story for SaraBeth to read. There was no attitude behind it.

sailing writes:

Sarabeth, !! I know the Gobers well there are at least 25 employees outside the family, you call that minimal! all the charity work he has done for hospice,cancer and so on helps everyone including Goodland residents I've lived here for 25 years, I know what I'm talking about!

artrules writes:

all I know SaraBeth is that I was at the festival yesterday and on Sat... several people were charging for parking in the lots, several of the restaurants had booths set up at Stan's serving food from their restaurants, all of the restaurants in Goodland were busy due to overflow... we visited them all, there were vendors there selling their wares all over the island, we know several of the employees from Stan's and they are not relatives, I heard that the mullet fisherman sold mullet and were smoking mullet around Stan's. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.. no complaining and we left around 8:00 from another restaurant and Stan's was all shut down and quiet. In fact every Sunday Stan's is over by about sunset. Haven't been here as long as you have but that's what I know of it..

mmpj writes:

Sarabeth, I don't think you know the Gober's VERY well. First, only one of Stans sons is married and she lives in North Carolina. The other two have "ex-wives" who have nothing to do with the restaurant. Secondly, Stan paid a weekly fee to the owner of the lot across the street for patrons to park there, up until he finally bought the lot. Also, I don't know where your information comes from, but his son only mullet fished for a very short time and only supplied a couple hundred pounds of mullet for a few festivals. Primarily he was a charter boat captain. It is a fact that this week Stan bought 2,000 pounds of mullet from local fisherman for the festival and has done so every year. Three local mullet fisherman were also hired to cook the fish this weekend.
As for what Stan has done for the village of Goodland, he worked alongside with the Goodland Civic Association to get the water tank so they didn't have to truck water in from Marco. He also is responsible for the street lights on Goodland and you can thank him for being able to watch your favorite tv show on cable. I have personally seen Stan donate "yankee dollars" to residents of Goodland for various reasons. He is a kind man with a heart larger than all of Goodland and is very proud to call Goodland his home.

mmpj writes:

Didn't like what I had to write? You just confirmed that you are the miserable person you sound like. Such nastiness!

ranger writes:

Met Stan thirteen years ago, liked him, his people, and the laid back life style so much, I bought a goodland cottage on the water. Sure the traffic is bad on season sundays, but we just plan for it. Stan is over 80 now, so he's made mistakes like the rest of us, but He's done more good than bad. Give him a break please, and enjoy it while it lasts. It won't be the same when he's gone.

mmpj writes:

Last time I heard, it wasn't illegal for CAST-net fishing for mullet, but of course you are the one who knows everything...

mmpj writes:


You asked 3 times in previous comments for examples of what Stan has done for Goodland and I gave you 3. Yes, all were inevitable, but he was involved in implementing the progress, which is more than I can say for alot of people. You got an answer to your question. Why don't you just enjoy your part of Goodland and let others enjoy Goodland the way they want to? If you don't like it, you can always move on to some place else.

sailing writes:

does sarabeth even live in goodland?

marcoislandres writes:

Sarabeth, what have you done for Goodland?
Sounds like you were fired from Stan's and you are bitter.

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