The third-annual Lychee Summer Celebration is set to return to Homestead with a 50-plus vendor farmers' market, cooking demos, wine, beer, and fireworks this Saturday.
"This year's lychee harvest is the largest crop we've seen in years," Schnebly Winery founder Peter Schnebly says. "The crop was actually improved by the stress of [Hurricane] Irma. It's a testament to the strength of the South Florida community and its agricultural roots."
In fact, South Florida is the only place in the continental United States where lychees are grown. The small round fruit — marked by sweet white flesh, a large central pit, and prickly red skin — will appear across the festival in demonstrations and displays ranging from using lychee in the kitchen to incorporating it in beer and wine production.
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Schnebly Redland's Winery will offer three distinct lychee wines, and the adjacent Miami Brewing Company will debut three limited-edition lychee beers. As you sip, nibble on lychee seafood ceviche and lychee martini ice cream while several restaurants and food trucks show ways to cook with the fruit. This year, participating restaurants in the Grand Tiki Lounge, which will present cooking demos throughout the festival, include Half Moon Empanadas, Pro Kitchen Hub, My Ceviche, and Lulu's Ice Cream.
The festival will also feature a car show with more than 150 classic and custom vehicles and an arts and crafts show with more than 40 vendors. Live painting sessions will see some of the area's best muralists using 40-foot shipping containers as their canvas.
In addition to all of those activities, the Relay for Life Beer Mile will benefit the American Cancer Society. At 5 p.m., participants will run a mile that includes four beer stops where runners will drink one can of suds per stop. Runners will receive a glow necklace in a color to match the cancer they're raising funds to beat, and every finisher will receive a medal. Participants will also get free admission to the Lychee Summer Celebration, and family members of runners receive special pricing on festival tickets. Registration for the run costs $30 and includes a T-shirt and beer on the course. Participants must register online at active.com.
Lychee Summer Celebration. 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at Schnebly Redland’s Winery, 30205 SW 217th Ave., Homestead. Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door; active or retired military get in free; lycheesummercelebration.com. Register for the Beer Mile at active.com.