⁄ All you need to know about the National Shrimp Festival

sf committee2015

Front Row L-R: Ann vonEberstein, Owen Corcoran, Kay Gilpin, Sam Washington, Pam Gilliam, Lisa Murphy, and Stephanie Mahoney

2nd Row L-R: Vince Lucido, Diane Davis, Ron Arnold, Jan Zimmerman, Matt Mogan, Marietta Wolf, Bruce Dusko, Kelly Wallace, Susan Brush, Mona McPherson, and Beverly Barr

3rd Row L-R: Don McPherson, Vicki Stillings, Don Meghreblian, Katy Petrovics, Jim Eberlein, Pat Eberlein, Mark Robinson, Michael Broussard, Lee Kramer, Steve Jones, Noel Hand, Rodney Stevens, Mark Halco, Kelsey McCarron, Jo Jo McCarron, Brandon Hubbard, John McCormick, Charley Ogletree, Frank Malone, and Clayton Wallace.

4th Row L-R: Ed Rodriguez, John Chamberlin, Robyn Johnson, Jane Tarver, Gabby Barnett, Archie Cornette, Jackie Madison, Jody Marsh, Dan Scott, Anne Stephens, Tammy Halco, Susan Sizemore, Richard Dickenson, and Tara McMeans.

Back Row L-R: Allen Colburn, Renee Jones, Marsha Comeaux, Bonita Goram, Sheena Mizell, Andrea Hodo, Jen Faulk, Rob Barnas, Ginny Barnas, Marlo Webb, Cindy Stewart, Bud Stewart, Allison Hendricks, Dara Richards, Jodi Donald, Jason Donald, and Angela Ballard.


NOT PICTURED: Matt Bass-Bergeron, John Boller, Shasta Booth, Sarah Boudin, Mary Broad, Don Broad, Tim Brown, Spencer Cade, Don Chambers, Merliee Chambers, Pat Folan, Sandy Folan, Walt Graham, Brett Hataway, Suzette Hataway, Steven Hodo, Joi Hubbard, John Kord, Ron Kutter, Suzanne Kutter, Byan Mahoney, Srgt. Paul Maliska, Braswell McMeans, Lisa Murphy, John Owens, Brittany Parks, Freddie Peninger, Mike Reach, Rosie Reach, Rod Schumacher, Angie Schumacher,  Lee White, Ike Williams, Stephanie Williams, Chris Yabarra.

The Annual National Shrimp Festival was started in 1971. The event began as a way to keep the tourist at the beach after Labor Day, which was traditionally the end to the season and their departure time.

The area businesses and local residents provided the money and the volunteers to produce an event which actually turned out to be not much more than a shrimp boil on the beach, which lasted all of about 5 hours. There were 6 booths leased by local restaurants, a sand castle contest and a turkey shoot at the local American Legion Post. The big attraction was an exhibit set up by the Marine Resources Division which consisted of Gulf Sea Life swimming in a large aquarium.

There was also the 1st Annual Seafood Cooking Contest which has evolved into “Best of the FEST” Seafood Contest for the food vendors.

The big publicity event was, one of the winning couples from “The Dating Game,” was celebrated as the “STARS” of the Festival. Their prize package was a weekend in Gulf Shores, which was pre-Fredrick and virtually an unknown and acknowledged as honored guests of the Tourists Association and Holiday Inn. The estimated crowd was 1500.

Celebrating its 44th year, the Annual National Shrimp Festival, which draws over 250,000 people, is one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s top rated events contributing over $46 million total economic impact. There are over 300 exhibitors offering everything from fine art, arts & crafts and aretail marketplace to the Children’s Activity Center where kids can let all their creative talents loose. We also can’t forget shrimp cooked every way possibleand 4 days of continuous music featuring major national recording acts as well as all the local favorites. Other activities include our sand sculpture contest, the 10k run/walk, and our Shrimp Festival Idol contest.