No need to call in the Navy, it’s just the invasion of the pirates at the 49th annual Amelia Island Shrimp Festival! An annual tradition here on Amelia Island the first weekend in May, the festivities kick off on Thursday May the 3rd this year with the Shrimp Festival Pirate Parade. The parade is small town Americana at its best, with nearly every organization in this tight knit community participating. This year, the theme for the parade is “Shrimping through the Years”, and participants are encouraged to pick their favorite decade. If you are looking for the perfect spot to set up, the parade begins at 11th and Ash Streets and finishes up at Atlantic.
For many though, especially visitors to our beautiful island, the festival really kicks off on Friday May 4th. Local merchants open their doors for a huge sidewalk sale that goes on all day. You can find information about local businesses here at www.aifby.com , the Amelia Island Chamber of Commerce. At 6pm, the party gets started at the foot of Center Street (the river side of the island if you can’t tell by the names) with the opening of the Riverfront Food Court and the entertainment on the Riverfront Stage. The night wraps up with the pirate invasion of the harbor at 9:30 and the fireworks show at 9:45. (I told you there would be pirates!)
Of course, no trip to Amelia Island would be complete without visiting our 13 miles of beautiful pristine beach. You might not find any pirate treasure, but if you are patient, you just might find some fossilized sharks teeth.
Saturday and Sunday of the festival weekend brings one of the best art events in North America right here to our little town. This giant fine arts and crafts exhibit is organized by the Amelia Island Art Association www.islandart.org and is truly not to miss. This year the show features nearly 300 juried artists and craftsmen/women. There will also be quite a few antique and collectible vendors, showcasing everything from Nascar memorabilia to rare books. For more information, including a complete schedule of events and where to park (and not to park – like my driveway, seriously stay out of my driveway!) go to the official event web site at www.shrimpfestival.com. You can also follow the event on Twitter at http://twitter.com/shrimpfestival.