NEWS

Seafood Festival was one for the books

Annie Blanks The Destin Log
This year's Destin Seafood Festival drew thousands of guests. ABRAHAM GALVAN/THE LOG

This year’s Destin Seafood Festival was one for the books.

An estimated 70,000 visitors attended this year’s festival, according to Festival Chairman Jami Jones.

“Our festival is always the first weekend of October and it’s the tradition that kicks off the Destin Fishing Rodeo,” Jones said. “Pensacola’s seafood festival was also this past weekend. But our attendance didn’t seem to be affected by their festival at all.”

Approximately  200 food and arts and crafts vendors participated in this year’s event.

Tailfin’s, a restaurant on the harbor, was one business that profited from the festival’s foot traffic.

“It helped our business immensely,” said Chris Stephen, the chef at Tailfin’s. “With the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day, people can go anywhere. But the Seafood Festival is right here in our backyard, so everyone comes here.”

The festival had a well-coordinated system of parking lots and busses to accommodate the influx of vehicles. Visitors could park in the lots at Big Kahuna’s and the Target shopping center and take a bus to the harbor, in addition to the parking at the city lots across from AJ’s and at Marler Street, and on the street along Stahlman Avenue behind McGuire’s.

“The shuttles were used more so than they were in the past,” Jones said.

She also said the local aspect of the festival was a big draw for people this year.

“As far as entertainment goes, we like to focus on more local and regional talents as opposed to bigger acts,” she said.

Next year’s Destin Seafood Festival will be held the first weekend of October. Jones said there’s not much she will change about next year’s festival, other than the layout that has to change when new businesses come or go on the harbor. This year’s festival went off “without a hitch,” she said.

“It went really well. It was well attended, there was beautiful weather,” Jones said. “The vendors were really positive. They had a good weekend and made good money … it came together well.”