If you love to bask in all the best ocean flavors, then the 58th annual Florida Seafood Festival in Apalachicola is definitely calling your name. At this popular event, you can chow down on all the most popular seafood dishes, including oysters galore. And in between your snacking adventures, plenty of fun and games promise to keep you well-entertained. Ready to get this awesome event on your calendar? Here’s what you need to know.
Enjoy the Full Seafood Spread on November 5th and 6th
After getting delayed earlier in the year, the Florida Seafood Festival has finally landed on the 2021 schedule once again. Now set for November 5th and 6th, this event will kick off under the shade of the gorgeous oak trees in Battery Park at around 10 am.
With the park’s location right near the mouth of the river, it’s the perfect spot to lazily grub on tasty seafood while enjoying the beautiful views. All across the rest of the park, you can find a ton of fun activities going on, including eating contests, crab races, and arts and crafts shows.
Although the event space is perfect for the festival, it doesn’t have any dedicated parking. Instead, you need to find a spot along the nearby streets. If you’d like to avoid all that, you can hop in a taxi and get a ride to the festival.
Fuel Up for All the Fun with a Visit to the Food Row
In order to get fueled up for all the fun, you’ll need to visit Food Row to select between all the awesome options. Although the vendors change year after year, you can always count on finding the freshest local seafood around.
Most years, the vendors sell everything from fresh, raw oysters to decadent smoked mullet. They also have non-seafood items for people who prefer to keep both feet on the ground. No matter what items you find, you’ll undoubtedly want to come again and again for another taste while taking a break from all the fun and excitement.
All the proceeds from the food sales go back to the non-profits running the food stands. So, while filling up your belly with the best seafood around, you also get to support the community.
Festival Events Go Beyond Grubbing on Tasty Seafood
Although the festival centers around seafood delights, all the following activities keep everyone working up a big appetite.
Blessing of the Fleet
On Friday afternoon, you can attend the Blessing of the Fleet to see Miss Florida Seafood, King Retsyo, and clergymen bless the fishing vessels in your midst. As you listen to their speech, you can gaze in awe at all the oystering, shrimping, and fishing boats in the marina. After that, be sure to murmur your own message of thanks before partaking in the seafood dishes largely brought about by their hard work.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, you can catch the Seafood Festival Parade go through town. The parade route starts to the west of the park and runs down U.S. Highway 98 to the riverside. You’ll want to find a spot right in the middle to see all the floats, marching bands, dancers, and other performers put on a show. Watch carefully for Miss Florida Seafood to make an appearance and give her a big wave as she rolls by.
The oyster contests always serve as a fun time, but only if you skip the seats right up front and in the middle. Whether you’re watching the eating or shucking contests, you’re likely to end up covered in oysters, after all, especially if the contestants get a bit too competitive. During the oyster eating contest, participants can easily consume up to 300 oysters, although keeping them down is the real challenge. The shucking contest, on the other hand, sends oyster knives and debris flying around as contestants shuck 18 oysters as fast and clean as possible.
Blue Crab Races
On Saturday from 1 pm to 5 pm, you can participate in the blue crab races at the top of the hour, every hour. This fun event gives you a chance to see how fast your crabby friend can go and enjoy a rousing competition against festivalgoers age 12 and up. The organizers provide all participants with their blue crabs plus have a track set up for the race. You just have to head over to the starting line and put your crab to the test on the given signal. Be sure to give your crab plenty of encouragement, so they’ll be the first one to scuttle over the finish line at the end.
5k Redfish Run
If you prefer to do the racing, then sign up for the Redfish Run instead. You’ll need to show up at 7 am on Saturday to register, and then start running at 8 am sharp. You’ll get to see all the beautiful sights along the Apalachicola River as you work on completing the 3.1-mile course. Once you’re done, you can visit Food Row to satisfy your cravings for seafood deliciousness and restore your energy levels.
Arts and Crafts Show
All around the park, you can find skilled artisans selling their arts and crafts at a fair price. In any given year, there are usually more than 90 vendor booths set up, giving you plenty of space to shop around. In order to avoid missing out on your favorite items, it’s wise to browse all the offerings before deciding what to buy.
Upon arriving at the south end of the park, you’ll land at the carnival filled with fun games and exciting rides. As long as you have enough tickets, it’s easy to spend hours enjoying all the attractions. While playing the many games all around, you have the chance to win souvenirs to remember all the fun you had at the festival.
In addition to all the activities on tap for the Florida Seafood Festival, local musicians will hit the stage to wow the crowds with all their top hits. Then, a surprise country music start will end the event in style with a performance at 8:30 pm on Saturday.
Want to Stay for the Whole Weekend? It’s Time to Book Your Room
If you want the whole Florida Seafood Festival experience, you need to book a room in Apalachicola. You can then easily travel to the event on Friday morning and stay all day to enjoy every last activity on the schedule. After that, you can return to your hotel room to rest up for yet another day of festival fun.