Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 17, 2019 1:03 p.m.
Amelia Island is once again pulling out all the stops for the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, an island tradition for more than 50 years. Held in in historic downtown Fernandina Beach, the event is one of the premier festivals in the southeast, combining a love of shrimp with the best of arts and entertainment. The popular family-friendly event includes a Pirate Parade, Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant, Kids Fun Zone, Shrimp Run sponsored by The YMCA, fine arts and crafts and antiques vendors, fireworks, and live entertainment. Local shrimp and seafood dishes, ranging from shrimp tacos to shrimp pie, are always the star of the show.
Fernandina Beach Mayor John Miller opened the April 16, 2019 Regular Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) by reading a Proclamation declaring May 3, 2019, through May 5, 2019, as the: “56th ANNUAL ISLE OF EIGHT FLAGS SHRIMP FESTIVAL.”
Miller noted that the first Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival took place in 1964 as the Shrimp Boat Races for the promotion of tourism and to recognize the City of Fernandina Beach as the Birthplace of the Modern Shrimping Industry. Today, Shrimp Festival is Fernandina Beach’s longest-standing and largest special event. The festival still embraces shrimp boats and great food, but these days locals and visitors alike enjoy many other festivities which include a parade, a pirate invasion, music, entertainment, fine art, crafts, antiques and much more.
Over the last fifty-six years, the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival has grown into a nationally recognized festival that provides a financial impact in excess of $16,000,000 to the City of Fernandina Beach, Nassau County and surrounding areas.
Miller presented the Proclamation on behalf of the FBCC to members of the Shrimp Fest Committee. This all-volunteer Shrimp Festival Committee partners with the City of Fernandina Beach, area businesses and approximately fifty local non-profit organizations to encourage community volunteerism while instilling a sense of pride through working together for the benefit of the Shrimp Festival.
Committee Chair Harry Harrison accepted the Proclamation on behalf of the volunteers and presented the Mayor with a poster advertising this years festival. He thanked the city for its support and participation and invited all citizens to participate in this year’s festival the first weekend in May.
The Pirate Parade is Thursday, May 2. The festival is May 3-5. For the full line-up of events and event schedule, visit www.shrimpfestival.com.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.