Seafood festival draws thousands to harbor

ABRAHAM GALVAN | 315-4445 | @AbrahamGnwfdn |
Coleton Anderson and Brady Gerber enjoy crab legs Saturday at the 38th annual Destin Seafood Festival. ABRAHAM GALVAN/DAILY NEWS

The first thing 4-year-old Bella Feltner wanted to do was ride the ponies and feel free in the jumpy house.

“She thinks the arts and crafts are pretty but the first stop is the ponies,” said Feltner’s mother, Stefanie.

The Feltner family was enjoying a day full of music, food and entertainment Saturday during the 38th annual Destin Seafood Festival. They were joined by thousands of others who took advantage of the beautiful weather.

Sawyer Allen tries to visit Destin at least twice a year with his family from western Kentucky, and said he makes sure one of the trips falls around the festival.

“Everyone is so laid back here and are the friendliest people around,” said Allen, who travels around the country.

The festival had many seafood options to choose from, including crab legs, gumbo and conch.

Grande Vista Bar & Grill served a snappy dip with a little hint of spice.

“The dip is made with smoked red snapper, and it’s also gluten free,” said Emily Buckley, who was representing the restaurant at the festival.

The Conch Hut travels all around Florida to participating seafood festivals.

“Destin Seafood Festival is a must,” said Benny Trye, who works the booth with his wife Kim.

Kim Trye said a lot of conch is what makes her homemade recipe special.

“You know they are called the giant snails of the sea,” she said.

Elizabeth and Kurt Gillett of Destin decided to go for the shrimp tacos.

“We really like to support the market and see the locals,” Kurt Gillett said. "We like to see and be seen"

Elizabeth Gillett said there are fewer tourists around this time of the year and believes the festival is enjoyed manly by the locals.

“It’s nice to see familiar faces and bump in to co-workers and other friends,” she said