Shells Galore | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Shells Galore

It's turtle season here in South Florida, but not in the same sense as, say, duck season or wabbit season. This is the time of year when baby turtles bust out of their shells and flipper their way to the sea. Alas, the vast majority of the babies don't even make it to the surf, and most of those who get that far don't survive their first year -- which is why there are places like the Marinelife Center of Juno Beach.

The center's mission is to save the sea turtle, especially the much-threatened loggerhead, by documenting and identifying nesting areas throughout north Palm Beach County and maintaining a turtle hospital. Of course all this requires cash, which is why the center holds the Cajun Festival at Johnny Longboats restaurant this weekend.

While folks chow down on a variety of Cajun dishes, two bands, Murphy's Law and the Porchdogs, offer entertainment. Murphy's Law is an old-time string band, the sort of group that was popular in the hill country a century ago. The band mixes bluegrass, folk, and other old-timey styles; think O Brother, Where Art Thou? if you happen to be a Coen Brothers fan. The Porchdogs, on the other hand, are a little more in keeping with the theme of the event. They bill themselves as Florida's top Cajun-zydeco band, playing the accordion-based music people associate with the bayou. Victuals include crawfish, homemade gumbo, jambalaya, fried catfish, and andouille sausage.

While you're eating and bobbing your head to the beat of swamp music, make sure to stop by the Marinelife Center's information table to meet Chad, a one-year-old loggerhead turtle. Loggerheads are pretty cute as turtles go, especially the little guys, so this is probably a way of getting you to donate some money to the center. But who doesn't want to save the turtles?