What to do at the 2015 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival
There will be a fantastic sidewalk sale in downtown Fernandina Beach, beginning at 10:00 AM on Friday, May 1st, and hosted by the merchants of the Historic Fernandina Business Association. The Shrimp Festival officially opens at 5:30 PM with live musical entertainment by the band DRB.
From 6:00 to 10:00 PM, the expanded Kids Fun Zone will be open at its new location at Central Park, in the 1200 block of Atlantic Avenue. There will be several activities such as a rock climbing wall, Zippy Pets, a giant slide, and a power jump. There will be vendors, an art show, food booths, ponies, puppets and much, much more. Rick Hubbard’s Kazoobie Show and Ben Mathews JuggleSTUFF will be entertaining kids of all ages with shows held throughout the evening.
From 5:30 to 10:30 PM, the downtown waterfront offers live music, and colorful pirates. Tasty dishes like a low country boil, crab cakes, grilled shrimp, Cajun shrimp, fried shrimp, and other seafood dishes will be cooking in food booths operated by local non-profit charities to satisfy your cravings. Opening ceremonies will be held at 6:30 on the main stage, followed by the popular Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant and the Pirate Parade Awards. After the sun has set you can dance in the street while the band plays familiar songs, and peruse the booths located near the harbor like Action News, Coca Cola, the Shrimp Festival merchandise tent, or check out what the Pirates have displayed in their booth this year. You won’t want to miss taking a tour of the University of Georgia’s “Georgia Bulldog”, a fully operational shrimp boat. But be prepared for mayhem, because at 9:30 the Invasion of the Pirates takes place immediately before the spectacular fireworks show. The party continues until the festival closes at 10:30.
On Saturday morning at 9:00 AM, the Kids Fun Zone and the waterfront vendors are joined by over 350 booths full of fine arts and crafts, and antiques. These additional booths can be found lining all of Centre Street, and a block north and south on every cross road, from the waterfront’s railroad tracks to Eight Street.
At 9:30 the Fernandina Beach High School Jazz Ensemble will take the waterfront stage, and in the Kids Fun Zone, The Pirate in Training (ages 0 to 5) and the Little Pirate Contests (ages 6 and up) begin at 10:00. The dancers from Bean School of Dance with perform at 11:00.
Bring your bearded friends to the waterfront stage at 10:30 and encourage them to enter the 48th Annual Topsy Smith Memorial Beard Contest. At 11:00, Fresh From Florida and Georgia Grown will be offering a Cooking Demonstration by Celebrity Chefs Justin Timineri (Florida) and Holly Chute (Georgia). At noon, beware, for those Fernandina Pirates will invade Amelia Island and storm up Centre Street.
The afternoon brings a new and promising voice in country music to the waterfront’s main stage with Bryan Mayer performing at 1:00 PM. Dominic Gaudious, a passionate artist on both the twelve string guitar and the Australian Didgeridoo, will play a short set at 4:00, just before The Edgar Winter Band takes the stage at 4:30. Co-sponsored by the Amelia Island Blues Festival, the Shrimp Festival Committee, Northeast Florida Blues Society and RockTenn, you will likely recognize Edgar Winter’s hits Free Ride and Frankenstein. This rock and blues legend will play until the festivities end at 6:00 PM on Saturday.
Sunday begins with the Kids Fun Zone, the waterfront, and all of the arts, crafts and antique booths opening at 10:00 AM for your pleasure. In the Fun Zone Pak’s Karate will offer a demonstration at 11:00, or you can Learn to be a Pirate at 3:30 with the Fernandina Pirates Club. Performances continue throughout the weekend by Rick Hubbard’s Kazoobie Kazoo Show as well as JuggleSTUFF with Ben Mathews.
Sunday’s waterfront entertainment includes Back From the Brink, a bluegrass and country band at 11:00 AM, and local cover group, Decades Band, takes the stage at noon. River activities begin at 1:30 with the Blessing of the Fleet, the Laying of the Wreath and the Best Decorated Shrimp Boat Contest. The party band of the South, The Swingin’ Medallions perform from 2:30 to 3:30, but during their break at 3:30 the Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Eating Contest takes place, where contestants race each other to finish a variety of ice cream flavors including shrimp ice cream. The Swingin’ Medallions hit the stage again at 4:00 for another exciting set and the 2015 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival official closes at 5:00 PM on Sunday.
Admission to the festival is FREE!
Parking is available on Friday at Fernandina Beach High School, 435 Citrona Drive, for only $10.00. This includes a free, air-conditioned shuttle ride to and from the festival from 6:00 to 11:00 PM.
Parking is available at both FBHS and Southside Elementary School, 1112 Jasmine Street, on Saturday and Sunday, for $10.00, shuttle fee included. Saturday shuttle hours are 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM, and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
Parking is also available at Buccaneer Field, South 11th Street and Beech Street, for $10.00; this is within walking distance of the festival and the Kids Fun Zone.
For more information please visit ShrimpFestival.com.