It’s all in honor of the silver king … The World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament, world-class artists and lots of good times

May 26, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

As the anticipation of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament has come and gone, the Boca Grande Invitational Art Show and Tarpon Festival will be just beginning.
This year’s festival, which includes music, food and nautical-themed booths, is set for Friday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, May 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Art Show will be held on Friday and Saturday as well, but it will primarily be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday (some booths may remain open a little later) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The 2017 World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament returns to the island on Friday, May 26 for the 35th Anniversary of this island tradition.
Sponsored by the Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce, this tournament attracts anglers from all over the world who travel to Southwest Florida to compete for thousands of dollars and the chance to jump a giant tarpon, one of the most sought-after game fishes on the planet. Sport fishing, education and conservation of the fishery combine to make this one of the most notable fishing tournaments in the country.
“World-class art is a big part of tarpon week,” said artist and event organizer Carroll Swayze. “I spent the last 11 months scouring the country looking for a collection of amazing marine, nature and wildlife artists and craftsmen to participate in the show. I look for high quality, variety and artwork that fits the theme and the pulse of the Festival, so that the show is not only beautiful but has something for everyone … not just the anglers. Original art is very important to me, and I am proud to put together an exhibit that rivals any art festival in the country. This is our sixth year, and I’m very happy with the show.”
The Tarpon Festival is free and open to the public.
There will be live music during the day and into the evening, local food booths and a beer- and-wine cafe set up near the stage for thirsty festival goers.
The Street Party begins on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. with rising country star Eric Von on the 3rd Street Stage. He will be followed by the Boca Bande, a local favorite, from 6 to 10 p.m. Eric Von will be performing from 3 to 6 p.m. Born and raised in the small fishing village of Cortez, Florida, Eric has a passion for the ocean that is ever present. His original music and lyrics combine fresh country tunes with an island flair. Singing since he was 3, he began performing professionally at 14. Eric Von has opened for Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen, Aaron Tippin and Casey James & John Anderson. Eric divides his time between Orlando and Nashville, where he plays regularly at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in both cities. His latest single, “I Can’t Help But Smile,” is high on the Nashville Music Row Breakout Charts.
The awards ceremony for the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament will be held on Friday evening, May 26 around 9 p.m. and then the Street Party continues with the Boca Bande on the stage.
The Art Festival and Street Party continues on Saturday, May 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with live music all day.
Bring your friends and family to Boca Grande for the Annual Tarpon Festival on Friday & Saturday, May 26-27 for a day of art and fun in a beautiful setting. The festival is free, and there will be plenty of parking available.
For more information about the Boca Grande Invitational Art Festival, please call Carroll Swayze at (941) 266-6434. For more tournament information go to or contact Wesley Locke at the Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce at (941) 964-0568.