Shrimp Festival Donates T-shirts to Uganda Orphanage

An often-overlooked benefit of the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is the philanthropical commitment from the committee. Every month the treasurer makes cash donations to local non-profits such as Micah’s Place, the Girl Scouts, or the Nassau Education Foundation. As a non-profit organization, the Shrimp Festival finds numerous ways to help other amazing organizations.

Recently, Hospitality and Volunteer Chairperson Jennifer Fritts took a mission trip to the Okoa Refuge located in Uganda, Africa. She was able to take 75 Shrimp Festival T-shirts and donate them to a local orphanage. “The children looked adorable running around the orphanage in those Shrimp Festival shirts,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer migrated to Amelia Island in 2015 and immediately got plugged in to the community. Second to her trip to Africa, stumbling across the opportunity to join the Shrimp Festival committee has been one of the most rewarding things she has done. “I can vouch for what an enormous production it is behind the scenes. It takes hundreds of volunteers – hundreds of hours – to pull off this family-friendly weekend event.” Jennifer continued, “With the help of dedicated volunteer committee members, local sports and other organizations, the Shrimp Festival goes on every year. This prideful island embraces a spirit of volunteerism and enthusiasm that is very special. Being a part of this community and the festival has revived my sense of community service and teamwork. It takes a village!” She concluded.

The 55th annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, sponsored by Baptist Health – Nassau, will be held May 4-6, 2018, in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. The traditional Pirate Parade will be held Thursday, May 3rd at 6:00 p.m. to kick-off the weekend’s festivities. There will be a huge Kid’s Fun Zone, over 400 art, craft, and antique vendors, nationally recognized entertainment, Miss Shrimp Festival pageant, contests, pirates, and of course, plenty of shrimp served up by Nassau County non-profit organizations! The festival is free to attend.

We are grateful for the continued support of gracious volunteers within our community. If you are interested in participating this year, feel free to reach out to for more information.

Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant 2018

If you know a high school junior or senior residing in Nassau County, Florida, who is interested in participating in the 55th Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival’s Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant, now is the time to enter. Sponsored by The Hampton Inn & Suites, Amelia Island, pageant contestants will be judged on poise, personality, appearance, and interview responses. Miss Shrimp Festival 2018 will win a $1,000.00 scholarship, and participants are expected to attend several events before and after the pageant.

Prior to the Shrimp Festival, mandatory rehearsals will be held at Bean School of Dance, 25 N. Third Street, in Fernandina Beach. The first rehearsal and organizational meeting will be held on Sunday, March 25th, at 3:00 p.m., and remaining rehearsals will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., every Sunday in March and April. Contestants will be coached on stage presence, learn a choreographed dance routine, and practice answering interview questions.

A dinner and judge’s interviews will be held on Wednesday, May 2nd, at The Hampton Inn & Suites. Those entering the pageant must participate in the Shrimp Festival’s Pirate Parade on May 3rd, and the pageant will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4th, after the festival’s opening ceremonies. Miss Shrimp Festival 2018 is required to be available during the remainder of the Shrimp Festival weekend to participate in other activities such as judging a variety of contests including the Best Beard Contest, The Best Dressed Adult Pirate Costume Contest, the Little Pirate contests, and the Blessing of the Fleet. Other requirements include participating in the 2019 Pirate Parade and the 2019 Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant to help crown next year’s winner. Additionally, there will be opportunities all year for Miss Shrimp Festival to participate in other parades and events during her reign.

If you have any questions, please contact Crystal Haney, pageant director, at (912)674-3316, or Pageant Choreographer Kristen Conner at (904)753-2488. For contestant applications and additional information, please visit The Deadline to enter the Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant is March 25, 2018.

Fernandina Beach, Florida, is known as the Birthplace of the Modern Shrimping Industry and the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is four festivals in one: a music festival, a kid’s festival, a fine arts festival, and a seafood festival featuring shrimp, of course. The Shrimp Festival is consistently rated by “Sunshine Artist Magazine” in the Top 25 of North America’s best events and over 130,000 visitors attend the three-day event. The festival kicks-off with a Pirate Parade at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, May 3, 2018, and continues through Sunday, May 6th. For more information visit

Deadline Approaching to Exhibit in the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

Fernandina Beach, FL – The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival’s fine arts show will stop accepting applications on January 31, 2018. Sponsored in part by the Island Art Association, Inc., the Shrimp Festival hosts an annually juried show that is consistently rated by Sunshine Artist Magazine as one of the best events in North America. The street festival, always held the first weekend in May, features fine art and crafts, antiques, a kid’s zone, a variety of food booths, live entertainment, contests, and other scheduled special events. This show, held in Fernandina Beach, Florida, provides an excellent atmosphere to exhibit and sell your work with an estimated 135,000 visitors expected to attend this free event over the weekend.

The Shrimp Festival will have over 400 booths of arts, crafts, antiques, collectibles, sponsors, food booths, and other vendors on display. Artistic disciplines include ceramics, jewelry, photography, metal works, woodworking, paintings and more. While the festival’s waterfront activities and Kid’s Fun Zone open at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2018, the arts and craft booths will be open on Saturday, May 5th, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday, May 6th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Island Art Association is a non-profit volunteer organization whose mission is exclusively philanthropic and educational. Its purpose is to develop and sustain an interest, appreciation, and enjoyment in and of the arts of Nassau County, Florida. Their gallery, located at 18 N. Second Street on Amelia Island, houses the works of more than 50 local artists, and their Education Center is utilized for classes, workshops, and scheduled events.

To apply as an artist for this amazing show, applications will only be accepted through, a free, easy to use site for artists and crafters to apply to shows and festivals. For application and event information go to

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival kicks-off with a Pirate Parade at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, May 3, 2018, and continues through Sunday, May 6th. For more information visit

Baptist Nassau Presents the Shrimp Festival

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival Committee is pleased to announce that Baptist Medical Center-Nassau is the “Presenting Sponsor” of the 54th annual festival being held May 5 -7, 2017, in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. “This opportunity is a natural partnership between the area’s only community hospital and the largest, longest running special event in our area”, said Baptist-Nassau’s President Ed Hubel, “sponsoring the festival is a natural extension of our commitment to our local communities.”

Baptist Medical Center Nassau is a highly advanced, extremely well-equipped community hospital on Amelia Island that provides a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient services and 24-hour emergency care to coastal communities in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. The medical staff includes highly trained physicians in 24 different specialties who practice locally, and as part of the Baptist Health System. Baptist Nassau has access to many additional specialized physicians, services, and resources when needed.

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival kicks-off Thursday, May 4th, with a 6:00 p.m. Pirate Parade in downtown Fernandina. The festival officially opens Friday afternoon with a dedicated Kids’ Fun Zone at Central Park, and plenty of riverfront activities. The festival continues Saturday and Sunday with nearly 400 vendors displaying fine arts and crafts, antiques, and of course there will be lots of shrimp! You can expect contests, pageants, Pirates, and an incredible line-up of entertainment including an emotional Wreath Ceremony.

Located in the heart of the waterfront during the Shrimp Festival, Baptist-Nassau will be in attendance to showcase their services and staff. You are encouraged to stop by their booth where they will be sharing information and answering questions about quality health care available in our communities.

Consistently rated by “Sunshine Artist Magazine” in the top 100 North America best events, visit for more information.

Challenge Butter Demos and Giveaways at Shrimp Fest

(Press release) – Award-winning Challenge Butter is buttering up Floridians by donating more than 100 pounds of its fresh sweet cream butter to all of the food vendors cooking up local shrimp for the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival attendees. It’s also providing free samples from Chef Ryan Robinson of Brett’s Waterway Cafe, and free coupons.

Festivalgoers can enjoy watching Chef Ryan Robinson prepare and sample dishes made with Challenge Butter and Challenge Cream Cheese on-site at the Challenge Butter Kitchen, located on the lawn at the foot of Centre Street. Demos will be taking place on the hour beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Challenge Butter booth is also fun place to stop for a chance to spin and win coupons, squishy cows and more.
New to Florida, Challenge is the leading butter brand in the West and has won accolades from the World Dairy Awards, Saveur Magazine and San Francisco Chronicle. Its butter and cream cheese are made from 100% real cream from its 450 family owned dairies.

A stickler for quality, Challenge products are free of growth hormones, artificial preservatives, dyes and fillers. And, its products are so fresh, they are ready for the grocer within 48 hours of the cows being milked. Look for them in the dairy case at Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart. It’s the butter with the elk on the package.

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is May 5 – 7, with a Pirate Parade kick-off on May 4th at 6:00 p.m. in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. Enjoy a Kids Fun Zone, live musical entertainment, contests, food booths and more. On Saturday and Sunday there will be over 450 arts, crafts, antiques, and collectible booths. For more information, please visit

Award-winning Challenge Butter began more than one hundred years ago. Today, it is the largest butter brand in the West and is available nationwide. Its portfolio of products includes Salted and Unsalted Challenge Butter, Whipped Challenge Butter and Salted and Unsalted European Style Butter. Its line of spreadable butters includes Italian Herb & Garlic, Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt, Challenge Lite Spreadable Butter with Olive Oil, a Challenge Spreadable Butter Flavored with Olive Oil, Challenge Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil and Challenge Lactose-Free Spreadable Butter. It recently introduced six cream cheese products including regular Challenge Cream Cheese, Challenge Spreadable Cream Cheese, Challenge Whipped Cream Cheese, Challenge Neufchatel Cheese, Challenge Salsa Flavored Cream Cheese and Challenge Strawberry Flavored Cream Cheese. Challenge has not only been a pioneer in the quality in butter products, but is also responsible for many industry firsts including invention of the first aluminum butter churn, lab sampling of butter and shipping butter in paper rather than wooden crates. Visit Challenge on Facebook at or at

2017 Shrimp Festival Lot and Street Closures

Wondering how to get around downtown Fernandina Beach during the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival? Well, in certain areas you just can’t! Here are the scheduled street and parking lot closures for the 2017 Festival:

It takes a lot of time to set up a festival with nearly 400 arts, crafts, and antiques booths, food booths, sponsor tents, and other special exhibits so Lots A and B, at the waterfront, will be closed at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning, May 4th, until noon, Monday, May 8, 2017.

The Festival kicks-off officially Thursday afternoon, on May 4th with a Pirate Parade that starts promptly at 6:00 p.m. so expect road closures on Ash and Centre Streets, from 11th to Second Streets, during the parade.

Immediately following the parade there will be a special Sounds on Centre street dance and live, free concert featuring Skip Towne and the Bounty Hunters. Centre Street, from Front to Second Streets will be closed until Sounds on Centre ends at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Lots C and D, along the river front, will be closed from 12:01 a.m on Friday, until Sunday, May 7th at 6:00 p.m.; some spaces in these lots will be available for parking by permit or payment only.

Noon Friday will see the closing of Centre Street at Second Street, to the waterfront, except for local traffic. At 4:00 p.m. Centre Street will close at Eighth Street, except for local traffic, and at 5:00 p.m. Centre Street and all streets one block north and one block south of Centre Street, from Seventh Street to the waterfront, will be closed to all traffic.

Roads and parking lots will remain closed until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

For more information, please visit

2017 Shrimp Festival Pirate Parade is May 4th

Historic Fernandina Beach is home to one of the region’s largest hometown parades. This year’s theme is the Ultimate Shrimp Experience. The parade will begin promptly at 6 :00 p.m., Thursday, May 4, 2017, and with spectators lined up three and four people deep for over 16 blocks, there is no better way – for the money – to get in front of a crowd this large and local businesses have signed up! There are almost 100 entries in this parade!!!

There will be decorative floats, walking groups, marching bands, exotic and antique vehicles, and much more. This year’s grand marshal is Jeff “Trapper” Parish.

Parade categories include Non-profit, Commercial, Walking Unit, Band or Performing  Unit, Civic Group, Judges Choice, and Special Effects. Awards will be presented on the River Front Stage on Friday, May 5ht. All entries are required to commemorate the shrimping industry  by adhering to the Pirate Parade Theme and the parade may not be used as a public forum to air personal opinions, grievances, or to protest any issue. 

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is a delicious Northeast Florida tradition being held May 5 – 7, 2017, and is presented by Baptist Medical Center-Nassau. The event kicks-off Thursday, May 4th, with a 6:00 p.m. Pirate Parade in downtown Fernandina Beach. The festival officially opens Friday afternoon with the Geico Kids’ Fun Zone, food booths, a pageant, live music, fireworks, a pirate invasion, river front entertainment, and more. The festival continues Saturday and Sunday with two stages, nearly 400 vendors displaying fine arts, crafts, and antiques. There will be contests, children’s activities, and food booths with lots of shrimp!

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival Announces Baptist Medical Center-Nassau as Presenting Sponsor


(Pictured, L to R)
John Scherer, Sponsorship Director, 2017 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival
Ed Hubel, President-Baptist Medical Center-Nassau
Warren Harrison, Chairman, 2017 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

AMELIA ISLAND, FL – The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival Committee is pleased to announce that Baptist Medical Center-Nassau is the “Presenting Sponsor” of the 54th annual festival being held May 5 -7, 2017, in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. Read more

Shrimp Festival 2016 Slide Show

If you missed the 2016 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, or just want to relive some of the wonderful moments, check out this fantastic slide show by Peggy and Helmut Albrecht.

Wondering the festival from the Pirate Parade on Thursday, through the final performance of the Swingin’ Medallions on the Riverfront Stage late Sunday afternoon, the Albrechts were snapping pictures of people, art, animals, food, entertainers, shrimp boats and just about everything else you will find in Fernandina Beach on the first weekend in May each and every year.

Here is the show… enjoy!

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival from Slices of Life Photostudio on Vimeo.

2016 Shrimp Festival Pirate Parade Winners

2016 Shrimp Festival Pirate Parade Winners(Click to enlarge image)

Here are the winners for the 2016 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival’s Pirate Parade:

Grand Marshal – Captain Speedy

Commercial or Commercially Sponsored Non-Profit
3rd Place – #103 – Quality Health Care of Fernandina
2nd Place – #62 – Amelia Island Kayak Excursions
1st Place – #38 – Amelia Gentle Dentistry

Non-Profit or Civic Organization
3rd Place – #36 – Newcomers Club
2nd Place – #21 – St. Mary`s Pirates Club
1st Place – #49 – Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville

Walking Group
3rd Place – #45 – Nassau County Special Olympics
2nd Place – #17 – Miss Kate`s Pre K
1st Place – #27 – Bean`s School of Dance

Band or Performing Unit
3rd Place – #111 – Yulee Marching Band
2nd Place – #57 – Fernandina Mighty Pirates High School Marching Band
1st Place – #30 – The Hillard Flashes Marching Band

Vintage/Unique Vehicle
3rd Place – #110 – The Shriners
2nd Place – #50 – Wells Fargo
1st Place – # 94 – Isle of Eight Flags Jeep Club

Special Effects – Fernandina Pirates Club, Inc.

2016 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival Contest Winners

 2016 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival Contest WinnersDo you want to know who won the contests during the 2016 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival?

Here are this year’s winners:

Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant

Sponsored by the Historic Harbor Front Hampton Inn & Suites
Miss Shrimp Festival: Jade Beasley
1st Runner up: Kate Walker
2nd Runner up: Ellie Crews
Miss Congeniality: Rachel Sheppard

Ice Cream Eating Contest

Sponsored by Cold Stone Creamery
18 years and over
1st Place: Dillan Clements
2nd Place: Alex Vrancic

12 to 17 year-olds
1st Place: Mac Batton
2nd Place: Siara Lockwood

6 to 11 year-olds:
1st Place: Adrian Duncan
2nd Place: Coral Trotter

Pirates in Training (5 and under)

Sponsored by Mason’s Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc.
1st Place: Miley Barnes
2nd Place: Rileigh Pickles
3rd Place: Madison Nettles
1st Place: Jack Wilson
2nd Place: Daxley Turner
3rd Place: Camden Hart

Little Pirates (six years and over)

Sponsored by Mason’s Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc.
1st Place: Kate Martin
2nd Place: Autumn Grasham
3rd Place: Lydia Gass

1st Place: William Reschke
2nd Place: Ethan Watts
3rd Place: River Plungis

Best Adult Pirate Costume Contest

Sponsored by
adultpirate-winners-20161st Place:Hunter Tomlin
2nd Place: Mike Foley
3rd Place: Thea Seagraves

Topsy Smith Memorial Beard Contest

Sponsored by the Marina Restaurant
1st Place: Ed Kilmer
2nd Place: Joe Craft
3rd Place: Al Johnston

Best Decorated Shrimp Boat Contest

6th Place: Ricky Brown, Beau Rivage
5th Place: Carl Canova, Ashlee Michelle
4th Place: Speedy Tortensen, Miss Alena
3rd Place: Maynor Solarzona, Michaela Dawn
2nd Place: Gerald Miller, Forgiven
1st Place: Barry Woods, Island Girl

Swim in Challenge Butter at this year’s Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

Swim in Challenge Butter at this year’s Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp FestivalAs demand grows for real foods made with quality ingredients, it is no wonder that 100% real Challenge Butter is the largest selling brand in the West, and is moving east at a rapid pace. With more than 450 family owned dairies, the company understands dairy farming as a way of life, and in Fernandina Beach, shrimping is a way of life.

Challenge Butter is hoping to butter us up April 29th, 30th, and May 1st when they provide 500 pounds of butter for use during the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. That is enough butter to fill up THREE Olympic size swimming pools! Free of growth hormones, Challenge Butter is now available at Walmart, Harris Teeter, and Winn Dixie grocery stores.

Here is their recipe for Spicy Honey Butter Shrimp. This recipe is quick and easy and rivals even the best Chinese take-out. Ready in less than 15 minutes, this may be the perfect recipe to entertain your guests over the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival weekend.

½ cup (1 Stick) Challenge Butter
1 Tablespoon grated, fresh ginger
3 Clovers garlic, finely chopped
1½ pounds large, raw, peeled, wild caught shrimp
1 Teaspoon Hibachi Seasoning (or salt and pepper to taste)
¼ Cup of honey
¾ Teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons minced, fresh chives

1. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter until sizzling then add ginger and garlic, stirring with a wooden spoon until the garlic is softened and the ginger is aromatic.
2. Toss shrimp, hibachi seasoning (available in the Asian section of most grocery stores), honey, and red pepper flakes into butter and cook just until the shrimp begins to turn pink all the way through.
3. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon, transfer to a serving platter.
4. With a wooden spoon, quickly stir the honey butter mixture remaining in the pan until bubbling. This will caramelize it slightly. Drizzle thickened honey butter mixture over shrimp.
5. Garnish with fresh chives. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Challenge butter products are gluten free, and Kosher approved and certified. For more information, please visit

Who Designed the 2016 Shrimp Festival T-Shirt?

Who Designed the 2016 Shrimp Festival T-Shirt?Mike Barnard is the artist who designed the 2016 T-shirt artwork for the 53rd Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. From his earliest years, Mike knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up… Luke Skywalker. With an early passion for paint and drawing, his parents put him into art classes early and he kept at it though college earning a degree in illustration in 1998 from the Columbus College of Art & Design, in Ohio. After mundane jobs in the corporate world of design and layout, he took a leap of faith and moved to Florida landing a career as art director with one of the biggest and best screen printing companies in the country.

Mike is an award winning artist from Ormond Beach, Florida, and he runs a booming freelance illustration company called Sunburn Designs. He specializes in custom artwork for rock bands, celebrities, large scale events, restaurants, and even the small business owner. He has done work for Topps, Disney, and a number of commissioned pieces for private collections. If you have ever purchased a T-shirt from a Florida restaurant, or at Bike Week, you too, may own a piece of his art. Mike also designed the artwork for the 2014 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.

Married to the love of his life, Lori, they have a daughter named Alora who will be eight this year.
The call for submissions for the official Shrimp Festival T-shirt design is announced each fall, and the winning artwork will be used on apparel, tote bags, Tervis Tumblers, and marketing and advertising pieces. The artwork must be original and other parameters are set such as the dates, the use of the eight flags, and the proper festival name and location, such as “Fernandina Beach, Florida”.

Designs are selected based on originality, theme, use of color, overall appearance, and commercial viability. For more information on the 2017 design, please keep an eye on
For more information about Mike, or his artwork, please visit

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