The Fiesta of Five Flags Pensacola Seafood Festival has become a local tradition and something that thousands of people attend and look forward to year after year. This will be the 36th annual festival, and although some things about the event are to be expected—like the plethora of shrimp, oysters, crab cakes and fresh fish—there’s always a little something new that’s been added to the weekend.
“We’ll be featuring a beer garden in Fountain Park, which is something we’ve never done before,” Mallory Wilson, seafood fest event coordinator said. “We’ll have a couple TVs on with sports games during the day, and lots of umbrellas and tables for people to hang out at.”
The beer garden will be featuring Miller draft products and in addition to regular Miller Lite, will also offer Batch 19 and a couple different Leinenkugel Beers.
“The beer garden will just be a nice, casual place for people to hang out and cool off,” Wilson said.
The festival will also be featuring the Seafood Grille, an area presented by Pensacola Energy that highlights local chefs and gives them the opportunity to share some of their favorite recipes and cooking secrets with festival-goers. Take a peek at the schedule and see if one of your favorite restaurants is participating—you might be able to snag a recipe from a dish you’ve loved for years.
Or if you don’t care so much about recreating your favorite dish and you just want to enjoy eating it, the Gulf to Table area will be your spot. You’ll be able to find tapas-sized portions of signature dishes from a handful of restaurants in town. The portions and prices are on a smaller scale, so you can try a little of everything without straining your stomach or your wallet.
Although the seafood is the main attraction, the festival always does a good job of providing a little entertainment while guests peruse the booths and vendors. Live music is scheduled over the course of the entire weekend and ranges from several unknown artists to much loved local cover bands.
Sol Driven Train, a band new to the festival lineup, has been traveling around the country in an airport shuttle bus, and is really excited to show Pensacola a little bit of what they’ve got.
“We don’t usually roll into town, go straight to the hotel, to the venue, then right back to the hotel,” bassist and vocalist Rusty Cole said. “We all try and spend as much time outdoors as we can, so we’ll get to a place early, just to take a hike or go kayaking or something.”
Sol Driven Train, from Charleston, S.C. has a down-home twang to their lighthearted songs, with a little saxophone mixed in there. The guys are all about having fun and enjoying life, which comes through easily in their music. One of the members occasionally brings out their rollerblades, which is when the real fun begins.
“We were at the Roots festival in Bristol, Tenn., and it was huge and all spread out around downtown, and Russell decided to take it to another level and rollerblade all through the festival, to see as much as possible in a short time, and he did,” Cole said. “He has been known to rollerblade and do saxophone solos on stage though.”
In case you just can’t get enough, Sol Driven Train will be touring all throughout the southeastern part of the country this fall. Rollerblades and all.
Aside from musical entertainment, the festival will also be offering their children’s area again this year, with face painting, arts and crafts, and giant hamster balls that the kids will be able to get in.
“We’ll also have a little racetrack with remote control cars, and New York Vice will be there, making little ID baseball cards,” Wilson said.
The Pensacola Runner’s Association will be sponsoring a 5k walk/run on Saturday, beginning at 7:30 P.M. at Seville Quarter and then continuing along a course through downtown. A little walk along the streets might be just the perfect thing to keep you going all through the Seafood Fest weekend.
Copious amounts of seafood, secret chef recipes, hours of live music, a quick run, and giant hamster balls for the kiddos—what more could you want for a weekend in September, or any other time of year?
Friday, 11 A.M. – 11 P.M.
Saturday, 10 A.M. – 11 P.M.
Sunday, 11 A.M. – 5 P.M.