Serving Up the Local Catch: For the Love of All Things Shrimp

May 1, 2020
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When it comes to all things shrimp, Amelia Island has a vast array of options to explore. Shrimp boats have always been a vital part of the island’s history. William Hunter Burbank (known to locals as Cap ‘n Bill) arrived in Fernandina around 1915 and brought with him a displayed skill for making trawls. He began crafting these nets for other fishermen, and the local shrimping industry became hugely successful. Today, the Burbank family’s business continues to craft nets not only for sports facilities, but for shrimpers around the world. You may think it’s just delicious shrimp we have to eat here on Amelia Island, and you’d be right. But there is so much more the island has to offer when it comes to the local catch. 

Fernandina Beach Shrimping Museum - Located opposite the welcome center at the city marina in Downtown Fernandina, this is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the rich history of the island’s shrimping industry. Free admission makes it a great stop during your day, if you want to hop in for a quick glance around or become captivated by a full history lesson. 

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Isle of 8 Flags Shrimp Festival, April 30 - May 2, 2021- Normally held the first weekend in May, the 57th Annual Shrimp Festival was cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus. Never fear! It will be back in 2021 and better than ever so make plans to attend! Held for the first time in 1963 to celebrate the opening of the shrimp season, each year since, this unique festival celebrates all things shrimp. Sample some of the many craft booths selling everything from delicious shrimp pies to exquisite arts and crafts. Then sit back and enjoy some live music whilst the children participate in the many activities offered. This is a weekend worth attending. Be sure not to miss the shrimp parade and crowning of Miss Shrimp Festival at the annual scholarship pageant. (Tip: book accommodation ahead of time as the streets fill up each year. )
 
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Shrimp Festival 5K Charity Run - A great family event to attend is the annual Shrimp Festival 5K. The run coincides each year with the festival and always takes place that Saturday morning with start times for the 5K run at 8am followed by two children’s events. Activities to keep the kids occupied include a bounce house and face painting, to name a few. This year all proceeds will go to support Drowning Prevention Programs throughout Nassau county. 

For a luxurious evening and fresh fish presented to perfection, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort hosts its annual Fish to Fork each year in May. The 2020 Fish to Fork was cancelled but they are looking forward to the 8th annual event in 2021 (dates to be announced). With sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful tree canopies as a backdrop, the weekend offers an unmatched foodie experience, with true dock-to-dish specialties in a fun and interactive atmosphere.  The resort welcomes renowned chefs from around the country to showcase their fishing and culinary skills, leading up to a final Chef Showdown on Saturday night with a live vote from event guests! Please stay tuned for more information on this incredible event in 2021!
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Treat yourself to Tacos - When it comes to shrimp tacos, Amelia Island will tantalize your taste buds. With a few contenders for the top spot, it’s hard for anyone to agree on one particular favorite. A few local choices include, The Salty Pelican, where you can watch the sunset over the marina whilst you enjoy the juicy shrimp they have on offer. Timoti’s Seafood Shack, is one of the favorites amongst families as the kids can play on the resident pirate ship whilst you enjoy the local cuisine. If you’re looking for a beach stop, Sliders Bar and Grill is situated a stone’s throw from the ocean. It doesn’t get much fresher than that.
 
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If you’re looking for some shrimp to throw on the grill at home, head down to Atlantic Seafood, located at the bottom of Ash and S Front street at the marina. They offer a fresh catch daily with the option of fully preparing the shrimp for your convenience. 
 
Ring in the New Year with the  “Shrimp Drop”.  Join Light Up Amelia and Florida Public Utilities in downtown Fernandina Beach at the harbor front. You’ll be accompanied by live music, games, delicious food, and fireworks.
 
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Located just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.