Enjoy participating in these contests (or cheering for your favorite contestant) during the Shrimp Festival. Here's the rundown, courtesy of the Shrimp Festival Committee (an all-volunteer team that works all year to put on the Festival.)
On Saturday, April 29, 2016, there are two Pirate Costume Contests for those under 18 years of age held in the Kid’s Fun Zone on Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach. While Singer-Songwriter Ray Stevens may dress up his tots in “silver buckled slippers” and tight, shiny pants, you would do well to adorn the little one in your life with an eye patch, a hook, a sword and a parrot. Dress up the youngsters and bring them to the stage in the Kid’s Fun Zone. Sponsored by Mason’s Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Inc., registration begins at 9:00 a.m., and the contests start at 10:00. Depending on the age of the entrant, little contestants will enter either the Pirates in Training Contest (ages 5 and under) or the Little Pirates Contest (ages 6 and up).
Do you know someone with an irresistibly, touchable beard? The Marina Restaurant is sponsoring the 49th Annual Topsy Smith Memorial Beard Contest. Bring your full beard, goatee, chin strips, balbo, soul patch, chin curtain, or any other style of beard to the Riverfront Stage on Saturday morning. Registration begins at 11:30, with the contest scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Marie will find volunteers from the audience to touch, caress, and pet the beards of the contestants, and together they will declare a winner.
At 1:30 p.m., it is time for the adults to compete in the resurrected, Best Dressed Pirate Contest. Back by popular demand, and sponsored by SearchAmelia.com, this G-Rated event invites those willing to show off their finest attire from the corsair’s closet. Buccaneer’s boots, a raider’s rapier, and marauder’s medieval mainstays are all acceptable accessories in the Best Dressed Pirate Contest. Prizes are cold hard cash! The winner takes home $100.00, 2nd place is awarded $50.00, and the third place winner walks away with $25.00. Marie will begin accepting registrations at 12:30 p.m. at the Riverfront Stage.
Sunday, May 1, 2016, offers the Annual Ice Cream Eating Contest, sponsored by Amelia Island’s Cold Stone Creamery. Divided into three age categories, those 12 and under, and who are 13 to 17 years old, will race to be the first one in their age group to finish a “Mine” size container, which is 16 ounces of ice cream. Those competing in the 18 year old and above category will have to polish off a 32 ounce tub of an “Ours” sized ice cream. This fun-to-watch contest could have you eating large amounts of ice cream with a miniature sized spoon made for sampling the ice cream. You’ll get messy, you’ll get full, and you’ll likely get a brain freeze! Five mystery flavors are layered in the contestant’s cups, and in the past have included cotton candy, mint, sweet cream, or even coffee, but one thing is for certain: the top layer will be a tasty frozen layer of shrimp flavored ice cream. This contest will be held at the Riverfront Stage at 3:30 p.m. and Marie will begin accepting registrations at 2:30.
Whether you plan to enter, or just plan to watch, the contests at the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival are entertaining indeed.
The Shrimp Festival is held in historic, Fernandina Beach April 29 – May 1, 2016. There will be food booths, a dedicated and newly expanded Kid’s Fun Zone, nearly 400 booths of arts, crafts, and antiques, fireworks, Pirates, Best Decorated Shrimp Boat Parade, and more. Live musical entertainment includes a Chicago Blues Night on Friday, and a free Gin Blossoms concert on Saturday.
Admission is free. For more information, please visit ShrimpFestival.com.