Bugfest 2020 Cancelled Due To Coronavirus

The Town cancelled this year’s BugFest-By-The-Sea. We hope to be able to continue the event in 2021.


Bag Up To 12 Bugs Per Day at BugFest!

Like spiny lobsters during lobster mini-season, BugFest-By-The-Sea is right around the reef!

Reef Safe Logo

Sponsored again by Reef Safe, this year’s event is from Tuesday, July 23, 2019, to Saturday, July 27, 2019, and features a free concert on July 27 to benefit Diveheart, a non-profit that teaches people with disabilities how to scuba dive.

In addition to great Reef Safe sun care products, participating divers can win $15,000 in cash and dive gear prizes and trips.

Unlike the Florida Keys, there’s a lot to do in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea besides hunting lobsters during mini-season. We have fabulous beachfront hotels on wide beaches at low summer rates, several great restaurants, fun public plazas with kids games and quaint shops, all just a short walk from your hotel.

Unlike the Keys, divers during lobster mini-season can also bag up to 12 bugs per day! You can also night dive for lobsters, which is prohibited in the Keys.

You can find the latest lobster mini-season regulations at Florida Fish and Wildlife.

Online registration opens on June 1, 2019. The contest fee is $20. Divers receive a BugFest Goody Bag and BugFest T-shirt.

BugFest this year includes:


  • Free Bug Hunting Seminar with “Chiefy” (Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.) at Plunge Beach Hotel (4660 El Mar Dr., Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308).
  • Free Lobster Mini-Season Kickoff Party (Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.) at Plunge’s beachfront Backflip Bar. Meet the Scuba Cowboy, ScubaRadio host Greg Holt and the ScubaRadio mermaids!


  • Catch ‘Em & Cook ‘Em (Wednesday, 11AM – 8PM), Sands Harbor Marina, 125 N. Riverside Drive, Pompano Beach. Grab a beer and enjoy music while we grill your lobster tail with all sides for $14.99.


  • Free BugFest Lobster Chef Competition (Thursday, July 25, 2019, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.) in our Beach Pavilion/Ocean Plaza on Commercial Boulevard at the beach!
  • Speed Painter Dale Henry Competition (Thursday, July 25, 2019, 7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) in our Beach Pavilion/Ocean Plaza on Commercial Boulevard at the beach!
  • Free BugFest Mini-Season Diver Awards Party (Thursday, July 25, 2019, 7:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.) in our Beach Pavilion/Ocean Plaza.


  • Free Florida Reef Fish ID Presentation (Friday, July 26, 2019, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.) in Jarvis Hall.


  • Free Reef Clean-Up Dive with Gold Coast Scuba and PADI’s Project Aware (Saturday, July 27, 2019, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.), followed by a free barbecue at the Surf & Yacht Club on El Mar Drive. The Anglin’s Pier clean-up was cancelled due to ongoing underwater construction at the pier.
  • Free music concert (Saturday, July 27, 2019, 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.) in Anglin’s Square to benefit Diveheart!

If you have questions about BugFest, call Steve at (954) 640-4209 or e-mail him at steved@lbts-fl.gov.

Bugfest 2019 Daily Schedule

Tuesday, July 23rd

Two free events at Plunge Beach Hotel!

Bugfest Schedule Catching the Bug

Jim ‘Chiefy’ Mathie ‘Catching the Bug’
6-7PM in hotel lobby

Jim “Chiefy” Mathie, a retired red Deerfield Beach firefighter and South Florida’s favorite lobster hunting expert, will again give a free seminar from 6-7PM on catching bugs at Plunge Beach Hotel, 4660 El Mar Drive, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Meet us in the main hotel lobby that fronts A1A by the Octopus Bar. The one hour workshop is great for divers who are new to lobster hunting and will cover the basics on finding, catching, cleaning & cooking spiny lobsters. Chiefy is giving away five free copies of his second edition book, Catching The Bug, The Comprehensive Guide To Catching Spiny Lobster. Best of all, you can join Chiefy afterwards for a cold beer at the Mini-Season Kickoff Party at Plunge’s beach bar!

Bugfest Kickoff Party

Mini-Season Kickoff Party
7-9PM at Beachside Backflip Bar

Don’t miss our BugFest Mini-Season Kickoff Party from 7 to 9PM on Tuesday, July 23 at Plunge Beach Hotel, 4660 El Mar Drive, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Sponsored by Gold Coast Scuba, the party will feature ScubaRadio mermaids, music by the Scuba Cowboy and more. Be among the first 100 people to sign-in and receive a ticket for one free locally-crafted draft beer. You can also register for the Great Florida Bug Hunt contest and buy a Diveheart raffle ticket for the chance to win a great dive trip.

Wednesday, July 24th

Mini-Season starts at 12:01AM.
Scuba Cowboy at Village Grille 9PM

Gold Coast Scuba
Midnight Beach DiveLauderdale-By-The-Sea

Sign-Up for this night beach dive with Gold Coast Scuba (954-616-5909) in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. In the past, this event has attracted about a dozen divers, so you have an excellent chance of winning a great prize. You can dive anywhere off the beach in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, but you must weigh in your catch at El Prado Park, 4500 El Mar Drive. The park is right on the beach across from Town Hall, 4501 N. Ocean Drive. The weigh-in deadline for this event is 3AM. Catch the biggest bug on this midnight dive and you will win a cool dive computer. Remember: You can catch a maximum of 12 mini-season lobsters per day anywhere north of the Florida Keys.

Scuba CowboyThe Village Grille logo
Scuba Cowboy at The Village Grille

Kick back and listen to your favorite trop rock tunes while enjoying great food, atmosphere, drinks and music while listening to our favorite diving troubadour, the Scuba Cowboy (aka Pup Morse). Pup will perform at the Village Grille from 8PM to 11PM. The restaurant and bar is at 4404 El Mar Drive, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea (on the corner of El Mar Drive and Commercial Boulevard in Anglin’s Square). Pup will be joined by Greg Holt and friends from ScubaRadio along with BugFest Lobster-In-Chief Steve d’Oliveira, who will give a brief report on the biggest bugs that were caught on Wednesday and entered earlier that day in the Great Florida Bug Hunt lobster hunting contest.

Bugfest Catch Em and Cook Em

Catch ‘Em & Cook ‘Em Sands Marina, Pompano Beach 12-8PM

BugFest is proud to partner this year with the Sands Harbor Resort & Marina on a new event — Catch ‘Em & Cook ‘Em. After catching your mini-season lobsters on Wednesday, July 24, drop by the Sands Marina between noon and 8PM, where a Sands chef will grill your lobster tail for $14.99 (all sides included along with a signature Sands Intracoastal IPA beer). Grab a cold drink or take a dip in the pool while your bug is being prepared. The grill will be set-up adjacent to the BugFest Weigh-In Tent on the north dock. The Scuba Cowboy will provide music dockside from 1 to 5PM, followed by Friday At Five from 5 to 9:30PM.

Thursday, July 25th

Lobster Chef competition & ‘The Big One Got Away’ awards party

Bugfest Lobster Chef Competition Lobster Chef Competition
Bugfest Lobster Chef Competition 6:00-7:30PM

Our annual and always-fun lobster chef competition at the Town’s Beach Pavilion and Connie Hoffmann Ocean Plaza (1 Commercial Blvd.) is always a fun event as five chef teams do their best to impress the BugFest judges with their crustacean creations. Each team is given four lobster tails and access to a gas grill. Over the years, the winning dishes included lobster pizza, lobster sliders and lobster grits. Chef teams are awarded points on taste, presentation and creativity. Past winners included the Windjammer Resort, Gold Coast Scuba, Serenity Yacht Charters, By-The-Sea Realty, ScubaNation on and Reef Safe, our primary BugFest sponsor. This year’s competition will be hosted by Greg Holt, the fun host of ScubaRadio.

Dale Henry Speed Painter at Bugfest

Speed Painter Dale Henry 7:00-7:30PM

Artist Dale Henry will perform in the Ocean Plaza in Anglin’s Square on Thursday, July 25 at 7PM. Before your amazed eyes, Henry will create a painting in a few short minutes. His works will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Dale was a big hit at BugFest back in 2017. “I’ve been a professional artist for over 20 years, doing commissions across the U.S. and around the world,” he said. “Being born a Leo, all my life I felt I was meant to entertain on some level. It wasn’t until I did my first speed painting performance that I realized what that would be. I enjoy putting on a show!”

Bugfest Diver Awards
Bugfest Diver Awards Party 7:30-8:30PM

Once the chef competition ends, we award the cash and dive gear prizes for the Great Florida Bug Hunt contest. This year’s dive prizes include an Aqua Lung regulator, dive computers, tanks, masks and other great prizes. Please support Diveheart by purchasing a raffle ticket; you could also win an awesome 7-night stay at the Windjammer Resort & Beach Club along with several other exciting trips and prizes. The Scuba Cowboy will also perform tonight! The fabulous Aruba Beach Cafe will also sell drinks and food to the audience members.

Friday, July 26th

Bugfest Diver

Fish ID Presentation
Jarvis Hall 7-8:30PM

Lureen Ferretti, an underwater photographer and avid marine environment activist, will give a Fish Identification presentation in Jarvis Hall. Lureen’s passion for photography began at an early age. “Growing up, it was very rare for me to be without a camera. After graduating college, my desire to dive was rekindled after going spelunking in a semi-dry cave and prompted me to get certified (at Dutch Springs quarry in PA). It didn’t take long for me to figure out I needed to move to Florida for warm water, better diving and pretty fish. After referring to the fish I dove with every weekend as the pretty blue one or the funny looking yellow one, I learned the fish and became a REEF Advanced Assessment Team member.” The event is free and open to everyone.

Saturday, July 27th

Reef Cleanup

Gold Coast Scuba will host a reef clean-up on Saturday, July 27th starting at 8AM. Divers must register and sign-up at the Beach Pavilion/Ocean Plaza, next to Aruba’s Beach Cafe, 1 Commercial Blvd. The clean-up is being supported by PADI’s Project Aware. After the dive, the Ocean Treasure Hotel and Gold Coast Scuba will host a barbecue for the participating divers from 11AM to 2PM at the Surf & Yacht Club on El Mar Drive just south of Pine Avenue. For more info, call Gold Coast at 954-616-5909. The pier clean-up was cancelled due to ongoing repairs to the structure.

Diveheart Benefit Concert crowdDiveheart Benefit Concert

Diveheart Benefit Concert

The Town is proud to once again host the Third Annual Diveheart Music & Art Festival, a free and family-friendly event on El Mar Drive in Anglin’s Square. Diveheart is a nonprofit charitable organization that teaches people with disabilities how to scuba dive. Buy a raffle ticket and you could win a fabulous dive trip. You can also bid on some awesome underwater photographs or other creations by talented artists who donated their time and talent to support Diveheart. This year’s music line-up includes Weedline, Patrick Arnold and Wolfhawk. All proceeds go to Diveheart, including its Diveheart Scuba Experience events, Adaptive Training and Scuba Diving Adventure.