The Destin Seafood Festival starts the month of October, one of the most beautiful times of the year along the Emerald Coast, with locals and visitors enjoying the best that the Luckiest Fishing Village in the World offers.
The festival runs on Oct. 6, 7 and 8 at the Destin harbor, located on the west side of the city.
“The big emphasis for us is this is a seafood festival,” said Jamie Jones. “It’s the heritage of the harbor, the history of Destin.”
Jones serves as the Destin Seafood Festival chair, and she knows firsthand about the Destin heritage.
“I ran a charter (boat) service until recently,” she said.
The festival continues its tradition of offering food vendors who serve not only local seafood but other fare as well. Menus offer everything from traditional shrimp plates to street foods; local restaurants and chefs add to the selections as well.
“There’s every kind of food you can think of,” Jones said. “Of course, the emphasis is on seafood.”
The inaugural Destin Seafood Festival dates back to the days when Destin was a fishing village, said Jim Green, who captains the New Florida Girl's American Spirit party boat and is vice president of the Destin Charter Boat Association. The first sponsors were the Destin Charter Boat Women’s Auxiliary.
Over the years, the Destin Seafood Festival has been sponsored by the Destin Chamber of Commerce and then back again under the direction of the charter boat association.
“We created this linear festival running all down the harbor,” Green said. “It’s turned out to be something good for the harbor.
“At the first of October, it kicks off the (Destin Fishing) Rodeo,” he added. “It gives a chance for local businesses to showcase their products and to bring in visitors.”
This year, the festival brings back its VIP tent, with either weekend or single-day passes available for purchase. The tent, located next to the main stage, offers food and drinks to pass holders along with shade and seating.
The main stage features local bands and musicians throughout the day, as do two other stages along the event venue.
With no entry-fee, people can come and go throughout the day from many entry points. The event is a fun family outing, Jones said.
“We’ve got more activities for younger children,” Jones said. “In the past we’ve had more for intermediate and older children.”
Parking for the festival is available at three Destin locations, with shuttle buses running throughout the day. Parking sites can be found on both the Destin Seafood Festival website and Destin Seafood Festival Facebook page.
For more information, go to www.destinseafoodfestival.com. Jones encourages festival goers to reference the Facebook page for real-time updates, www.facebook.com/DestinSeafoodFest.