It started back in 1964 as a competitive race between shrimp boats and their captains. Now, the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival has evolved to become a full-fledged weekend celebration.
On May 3, 4 & 5, the Shrimp Festival will commemorate 50 years of fun, along Centre Street in the quaint seaport village of Fernandina Beach on beautiful Amelia Island. The Golden Anniversary will feature a variety of children’s activities, live entertainment, fine arts and crafts and much, much more. Furthermore, guests can treat themselves to their favorite feast of the sea, celebrating all things shrimp – catching them, cooking them, eating them and even drawing them. Shrimp pie, shrimp quesadillas, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp or shrimp pizza are just a few of the dishes prepared by local citizens.
The Southeast Tourism Society has named the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival a Top-20 event for the past 11 years. This year is sure to live up to that distinction.
Festivities Begin Frida y Night
Catch fantastic bargains during the Downtown Merchants’ Sidewalk Sale all day Friday. The festival officially kicks off at 6 pm on Friday, 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 pm on the Riverfront Stage, followed by the Miss Shrimp Festival scholarship pageant, music and a pirate invasion, with fireworks scheduled at 9:45 pm.
Fine Arts & Crafts and Antiques
On Saturday, May 4 from 9 am to 7 pm and Sunday, May 5 from 10 am to 5 pm, visitors can enjoy the works of more than 300 award-winning artists and craftspeople. All participating exhibitors are fully juried to qualify for entry into the show. 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..
Food and Music
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 are rivaled only by musical performances that will fill the seaside air with the sounds of jazz, pop, rock, folk and country.
Family Fun
See colorful pirates swordfight, loot and plunder in the streets after they invade the festival by a pirate shrimp boat. 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, Piratein-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 provided by Rick Hubbard’s Kazoobie Show, JuggleSTUFF and Pirate School. Also, tighten the wooden leg and join the YMCA 5-K run on Saturday morning. Later, bring the crew to the Putt-Putt Tournament at Main Beach on Saturday night.
Pirate Parade
Join the locals for the Pirate Parade, presented by Residence Inn, Amelia Island, to be held on Saturday, April 27 at 11 am as it takes over Centre Street to the theme of “The Year of the Golden Shrimp.” Creative craftsmanship will abound in 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.