Welcome to the Florida Seafood Festival! The Florida Seafood Festival is held each year over the first weekend in November, in the fishing village of Apalachicola on Florida's Gulf Coast, at the junction of the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay.
The Festival is the state's oldest and largest marine event, attracting some 25,000 visitors, and it celebrates the thriving seafood industry on Apalachicola Bay. From these waters are harvested 90% of the oysters and 52% of the entire shellfish output in Florida.
But the Florida Seafood Festival is more than just a marine event, and more than just a tribute to our seafood industry. It is our acknowledgement of a way of life that exists only on the Coast. The people who live by the sea and because of the sea are proud to bring you this Festival. We hope you will enjoy our seafood, hospitality, and activities on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1, 1986. And if you take home an appreciation for the sea and our way of life, then the Florida Seafood Festival has achieved its purpose.
Where is Apalachicola?
Apalachicola is located in Florida's panhandle on the Gulf of Mexico, 75 miles southwest of Tallahassee, and 60 miles southeast of Panama City. Scenic coastal highway U.S. 98 runs right into Apalachicola from both east and west. Both Panama City and Tallahassee are served by daily commercial airline flights.
What Activities Does the Festival Offer?
Every member of the family will find activities to enjoy at the Florida Seafood Festival. Virtually all the events are held outdoors and near the marina in Apalachicola's Battery Park, so you'll be able to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather and see the fishing and leisure boats in action.
The Festival officially begins at noon on Friday, October 31st, with the opening of the arts and crafts booths, the food concessions, and the Festival auction. At 6 P.M., on Friday, the legendary King Retsyo and his court, arrive at the Battery Park Marina.
Saturday morning the Red Fish Run foot race begins at 9 A.M. (you can pre-register or sign up that morning), followed by the Festival parade downtown at 10 A.M. The main Festival grounds in Battery Park will open at 11 A.M. For a $1 donation (kids under 12 are free), you can enjoy all the Festival events in the Park all day long. You can browse through more than 90 booths exhibiting and selling arts, crafts, and novelties of all kinds. There will be continuous live music and entertainment in the Park. You can take a guided tour through the historic waterfront and Apalachicola. You'll see the traditional Blessing of the Fleet and the oyster shucking contest, and have a chance to participate in the Blue Crab Race and the oyster eating contest. And all day long, you can partake of the pride of the Bay - seafood specialties prepared according to local recipes, and other homemade goodies.
On Saturday night the First Baptist Church will present a Gospel Sing, free, at 7 P.M., at the Apalachicola High School cafetorium. Later, you can dance the night away at the King Retsyo Dance, 8 P.M. at the Armory. Tickets will be available at the door.
*Festival Auction - Join us on Friday, October 31st, in Battery Park. Many antiques and one of a kind collectibles will go on the auction block at the main entertainment stage at 2 P.M.
*King Retsyo's Arrival - Help us welcome back the exiled king of river deltas and nursery areas of oysters, shrimp, fish, and crabs. King Retsyo (oyster spelled backwards is a traditional figure of mystery and fantasy, and will preside over many of the festival events.
*King Retsyo's Dance - The Saturday night gala dance will be held at the Ft. Coombs Armory (one block from Park) from 8 P.M. til! Live Band. BYOB; set up and snacks will be available.
*Red Fish Run - This 5,000 meter (3.1 miles) running event is open to runners of all ages and abilities, and starts and finished at The Gibson Inn on Saturday morning. All registered runners received a commemorative T-shirt and the top finishers in 12 age groups receive awards. you can pre-register or sign up on race morning. For more info, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Festival Office.
*Festival Parade - King Retsyo leads the procession, with marching bands, beauty queens, drill teams and floats. The route begins in downtown Apalachicola and ends at Chapman Elementary School on 12th St. Parade entries are welcome; contact the Festival Office. Entrants will gather downtown to line up Saturday morning.
*Blessing of the Fleet - This solemn and colorful ceremony originated in the Old World. Local priests and ministers preform the blessing at the waterfront to protect the ships from dangers of the sea.
*Gospel sing - The First Baptist Church of Apalachicola will present the traditional Gospel Sing on Saturday at 7 P.M. in the High School cafetorium. Come enjoy the beautiful hymns, gospel songs and spiritual music. There is no charge.
State Archives of Florida: Series 1592, Box 02, Folder 5
Brochure advertising the 11986 Florida Seafood Festival with a schedule of events.
October 31, 1986