In 2013, the Shrimp Festival will commemorate 50 years of fun on May 3, 4 and 5, 2013, along Centre Street in the historic downtown business district of the quaint seaport village of Fernandina Beach on beautiful Amelia Island, Florida. Originating from a competitive race between shrimp boats and their captains in 1964, the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival has evolved over the years to become a full fledged weekend celebration.
The Golden Anniversary will feature a variety of children’s activities, live entertainment, fine arts and crafts and much more. Guests can treat themselves to their favorite feast of the sea, whether it be Shrimp Pie, Shrimp Quesadillas, Fried Shrimp, Boiled Shrimp or Shrimp Pizza – just a few of the dishes prepared by local citizens on behalf of their local non-profit organization.
Pirates roaming the Atlantic are just another one of Amelia Island’s tales that come to life at this year’s Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, celebrating all things shrimp since 1964 – catching them, cooking them, eating them and even drawing them. The Southeast Tourism Society has named the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival a Top-20 event for the past eleven years. This year’s incredible line-up of fine arts, crafts and antiques, delicious food and lively entertainment is sure to live up to that distinction. Arrrrr!
Festivities Begin Friday Night
Catch fantastic bargains during the Downtown Merchants Sidewalk Sale all day Friday. The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Presented by Publix, officially kicks off at 6:00 p.m. on Friday evening, May 3, when food booths, entertainment and activities open at the Riverfront and Kids Fun Zone only. The Opening Ceremony officially starts the festivities at 6:30 p.m. on the Riverfront Stage, followed by the Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant, Music and a Pirate Invasion, with Fireworks scheduled at 9:45 p.m.
Fine Arts and Crafts and Antiques
On Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can enjoy the works of more than 300 award-winning artists and craftspeople and their creations in watercolor, acrylics, oils, sculpture, metal, photography, pottery and more. All participating exhibitors are fully juried to qualify for entry into the show. Best in Show will receive a $3,000 cash prize. Selected as a Top 200 Outdoor Art Festival in the U.S. by Sunshine Artist Magazine, the festival also boasts an excellent showing of fine antiques and collectibles, with approximately 75 booths, including furniture, Depression glass, jewelry, crystal and coins. Student artwork from all public and private schools in Nassau County are displayed, with awards for outstanding pieces given by local businesses.
Food and Music
What would a Shrimp Festival be without shrimp? Seafood and shrimp dishes abound, all prepared with a local flair and flavor by dozens of civic and charitable organizations from the Fernandina Beach and surrounding Nassau County. The treats for the taste buds and eyes are rivaled only by musical performances from regional and local acts that will fill the seaside air with the sounds of jazz, pop, rock, folk, and country. Beach music will be provided by our “house band,” the ever popular Swingin’ Medallions, who will perform on Sunday afternoon.
See colorful pirates swordfight, loot and plunder in the streets after they invade the festival by a pirate shrimp boat – a throwback to the days when Amelia was ruled under foreign flags.
A “Blessing of the Fleet” and the “Best Decorated Shrimp Boat Parade and Contest” on Sunday will entertain guests at the Riverfront. Contests include Little Pirate, Pirate in Training and Best Beard on Saturday and a Shrimp Ice Cream Eating Contest on Sunday. Get with the spirit of the festival and entertain the family in the Kids Fun Zone with activities for all ages and entertainment throughout the weekend provided by Rick Hubbard’s Kazoobie Show, JuggleSTUFF and Pirate School, among others. And, don’t forget to tighten the wooden leg, Black Beards, and join the YMCA 5-K run on Saturday morning. Later, bring the crew to the Shrimp Festival Putt-Putt Tournament at Main Beach on Saturday night.
Traditionally the Pirate Parade kicked off the festivities on Thursday, but for undisclosed reasons this has changed in this Anniversary Celebration year. Instead the pre-festival Pirate Parade, presented by Residence Inn, Amelia Island, is now to be held on Saturday, April 27 at 11:00 a.m. as it takes over Centre Street in downtown Fernandina Beach to the theme of “The Year of the Golden Shrimp.” Creative craftsmanship will abound with the imaginative floats and unique entries vying for “Best of Parade” honors.
There are truly memories to be made for everyone at this storied festival. For a complete listing and schedule of events for the 50th Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival visit www.shrimpfestival.com.