In July 2021, the Everglades City Counsel sought out the FLSCA to ask if we would be interested in hosting this year’s Seafood Festival. For over 50 years the Everglades Seafood Festival has been quintessential in generating income to make improvements to its community and to help its residents in need. Over 50,000 people from all over the state of Florida over the course of 3 days flock to this small town every February to enjoy local seafood, crafts, and entertainment. This year, the success of the festival was more important than ever. Everglades City was devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Festival was canceled. The FLSCA had established themselves as a 501(c)3 and Everglades City is the self-proclaimed stone crab capital of the world, so it seemed to be an appropriate fit. The only small obstacle- none of us had any experience hosting a festival. Oh- and we had NO MONEY. So, we said yes, immediately panicked, but figured it out.
The months leading up to the festival were extremely stressful, but thanks to our amazing and generous sponsors, help from our friends and community, and the grace of God, we raised enough money to pay for the festival. Not only did we cover almost all of our expenses prior to the festival, we generated over $100,000 in profit that will go back to the Everglades City School and community. We had over 40,000 attendees in the course of 3 days- maybe more. We vetted our seafood vendors so that they served local seafood ONLY. Yes, we had some issues, but they figured out pretty quickly that we weren’t playing around.
We set up our merch booth and managed to sell most of the merchandise we ordered. Proceeds from our merchandise will go to helping pay for the costs of operating the FLSCA and helping to support our industry in whatever we can. Much of the initial cost to begin the FLSCA came out of pocket and there will be no repayment.
We recently signed our contract with Everglades City for the 2023 Everglades Seafood Festival, which will be held February 17th,18th, and 19th 2023. We hope to see you there!
You can get information about the festival by visiting our web page: www.evergladesseafoodfestival.com
Also, check out our Facebook page and like us on Instagram to see great footage from this year’s festival!