APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WMBB) — Thousands of people are spending the weekend in Apalachicola for the oldest seafood festival in the entire state.
The 58th annual Florida Seafood Festival kicked off Friday morning.
The two-day event features music and of course seafood, and a huge boost for the local economy.
Freshly shucked oysters, live music, and a carnival is what you’ll find this weekend at the Florida Seafood Festival in Apalachicola.
Most locals have grown up having fun at the festival.
Carrabelle Church of God Senior Pastor Kevin Swiney said he’s spent the last 15 years shucking oysters at the event.
“My favorite thing about the seafood festival is actually meeting all of the people and shucking the oysters we just had a gentleman walk up and he said he walked everywhere and it’s not a seafood festival without a freshly shucked oyster on the half shell. That’s what everybody comes here for,” Swiney said.
Vendors, lots of seafood, and a carnival took over Apalachicola Battery Park on Friday. Saturday will bring the oyster eating contest, oyster shucking, crab races, and a parade.
“To get together with everybody you haven’t seen for years is really nice,” a Carrabelle resident Jennifer Daniels said.
The festival’s rich history began around 100 years ago.
But it wasn’t officially recognized as the Florida Seafood Festival until 1963.
“It was to bring tourism back into the area, back after I-10 kind of diverted a lot of the traffic away from the coast, now we use it to promote our seafood industry, but also to boost our local businesses,” President of the Florida Seafood Festival John Solomon said.
More than 25,000 people typically attend the event, some from as far away as Michigan, Illinois, Orlando, Tampa, and Georgia.
“I just want to invite everyone to come down I mean we have carnival rides w have great concerts great local seafood here from Apalachicola Bay that serves our local non-profits,” Solomon said.
For more information and a schedule of the events visit their website.