More than 100,000 guests are expected to attend the 2019 Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, based on attendance in previous years. Firefall and Poco will headline the music, with bands like The Crazy Daysies and The Swingin’ Medallions taking the stage on Sunday. The music is only part of a three day mix of activities, parades, and marketplace wares.
Opening ceremonies on Friday, May 3 begin at 6 p.m. The Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant follows, and then the popular Pirate Parade Awards. Music features The Band Be Easy, and the evening concludes with fireworks.
On Saturday, May 4, the Fernandina Beach High School Jazz Ensemble will crank up the day at 9 a.m. Daytime music features the Sean McCarthy Band, with headliners Firefall and Poco at 3:30 p.m.
On Sunday, May 5, The Crazy Daysies get things going at 11 a.m.—Rebecca and Jennifer will be accompanied by Wes Goode. Afterwards, the festival will feature the Blessing of the Fleet and the Decorated Shrimp Boat Parade and Contest. The Swingin’ Medallions will round out the day’s music.
All of these events will be on The Riverfront Stage in historic downtown Fernandina.
The Pirate Parade officially signals the start of the festival. Amelia Island Living said the parade will be “held on Thursday evening [May 2] leading up to May’s first weekend. The parade starts at 6 p.m. in downtown Fernandina’s historic district (route is Ash Street, then Centre Street).”
You can bet on great food from the many vendors who participate, and there will be approximately 400 art, craft, and antiques vendors presenting wares that include handmade and custom items. The festival also features an art show described as one of the best in the Southeast. The Kids’ Fun Zone has games, rides, an art show, and other activities; this zone is located at Central Park, a short distance from the center of the city.
The festival is in its 56th year, and it has proven popular with locals and tourists. It would be hard to find a festival with more to offer than this one. You’ll find full details about the festival on the official website, and that includes info about why it’s called the “Isle of Eight Flags”. The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is the island’s top event, and that’s saying a lot because Amelia has many great events throughout the year.
(Kay B. Day/April 22, 2019)