The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival was in its 50th year in 2013, but this was my first year in the area for it. Even though it rained, it was still pretty cool. So here is a review of the shrimp festival from the opinion of an average person new to the area.
The parade was huge and lots of fun, and the fireworks were great, but I will focus on the festival itself. It rained non-stop on Saturday. Of course this wasn’t the shrimp festival’s fault, so I am not going to hold the rain against it. It made walking around a little less fun, but it wasn’t cold and it definitely kept the crowds down. So the first day we walked up and down the street looking at all of the art vendors. The art was absolutely amazing. From breathtaking paintings to awe-inspiring sculptures, it was definitely worth walking in the rain to see. It was better than going to an art gallery. Though most of it was out of our price range and probably overpriced even for what it was, it was definitely something I would recommend seeing. And we got some business cards from our favorite vendors so we could find them when we did have some extra money. (Hello, tax check!)
The vendors down the side streets are more reasonably priced and more eclectic. We did hit a few of these vendors as well, even though it never stopped raining. So we ducked into some of the shops to get dry and browse since we were there.
We tried the shrimp pie. I had heard a lot about it, mostly good but some mixed reviews. I was a little worried, because “shrimp pie” doesn’t really sound that great. I am not a fan of pot pies, which is what I thought it would be, but I tried it anyway because I felt like I should. It was, after all, my first shrimp festival. Shrimp pie is actually more like a pizza, a pizza pie I guess, and it was delicious. Very cheesy and yummy, and I am definitely ready to go back to the shrimp festival for more next year! Even my two-year-old loved it and wanted more.
We left without seeing the kids zone the first day, but we did go back on Sunday and visited it. I checked out the art again on the way. The kids loved the kids zone. There were lots of fun free crafts, as well as some you pay to make. Pony rides, games, bounce houses, and fun booths for kids kept us occupied for hours. My kids loved it. We did miss the pirate raid, but my kids got to talk to a pirate on Sunday and he gave them some gold coins.
I would definitely recommend checking out the shrimp festival if you are around Fernandina in May. It was fun and the whole family had a good time. Can’t wait for more shrimp pie!