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Jumbo festival takes the sting out of the high price of shrimp

That’s right, shrimp fans!

The 51st Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival kicks off on Thurs., May 1 at 6 p.m. with the festival Pirate Parade on 11th St. in downtown Fernandina.
Courtesy of the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival,

Turn your pirate ship toward Fernandina and head for the freshest wild-caught seafood brought to you by the Fernandina shrimp fishing fleet.

The 51st Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival kicks off on Thurs., May 1 at 6 p.m. with the festival Pirate Parade on 11th St. in downtown Fernandina.

Held since 1964 in the heart of historic downtown Fernandina Beach on beautiful Amelia Island, Fla – the only place in the United States to fly eight different national flags – the Shrimp’s family-friendly food, fun and laughs all weekend long.

Admission is free. All ages welcome.

Official Festival Opening: Friday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. on the Riverfront Stage on Centre St.

As always, it’s all about the shellfish

Get your mind right to stand in line for shrimp pie, shrimp quesadillas, shrimp pizza, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp and shrimp jamabalaya.

You should expect nothing less from a place that’s been “celebrating all things shrimp” since 1964.

Literally dozens of local organizations volunteer to do the cooking, and the cuisine features that GR8RJax™ flair you’ve come to expect, if not demand.

Food, food and more food from 26 food booths.

Go prepared to eat.

Named a top-20 event over ten times

That’s the kind of street cred the Isle of Eight Flags Festival has. And not just with the Southeast Tourism Society.

The Isle of Eight Flags festival, which began as an annual spring shrimp boat race, during which the shrimpers' wives served shrimp dishes, happens where it does because Fernandina Beach is the birthplace of the modern, motorized shrimping industry.

With over 300 booths featuring antiques and collectibles, Depression glass, jewelery, crystals and coins, you can understand why our northeast Florida festival is one of Sunshine Artist Magazine’s Top 200 Outdoor Festival.

Hey, it wouldn’t be a party without pirates

As usual, pirates in full costume invade Fernandina via pirate shrimp boat, looting and pillaging in the streets to entertain kids of all ages.

Combine that with the Best Little Pirates and Best Little Pirate In Training costume contests and the huge Kids Fun Zone – 25 activities in all with free Kids Kraft Korner, sand art, and pony rides – and you’re in the right place to have loads of family-friendly fun.

Then there are the treats for adults – several contests: Miss Shrimp Festival, Ice Cream Eating, Best Pirate (costume), Best Beard and Best Decorated Boat, as well as the Shrimp Festival 5K Run/Walk.

Of course there’s plenty of live music, with a special appearance by the Edwin McCain Band (“I’ll Be”) and other local and regional favorites live all weekend long.

51st Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

  • May 1-4
  • Admission: FREE & open to the public
  • Centre St. downtown
  • Fernandina Beach, Fla.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact:

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