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Putting it all together
Behind the scenes at seafood fest
A carnival worker puts together one of the rides. - photo by Photo by Hallie Martin
It’s that time of year again! In just two days, the long-anticipated 2010 Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival will kick off in J.F. Gregory Park.

The festival, a three-day celebration of delicious seafood, great live music and fun for the whole family, has become a signature annual event for our city and county.  

Mike Sisco, chairman of the festival board, gave us some insight on how this fabulous event is put together.  

An event of this magnitude takes years in the planning.

“Plans for 2011 have already started,” said Sisco. “We start plans for entertainment in late December, early January because you have to book early … these bands move around and you have to work around their schedule.”

The Seafood Festival is known for bringing world-famous live acts to our very own Richmond Hill, which in the past have included Eddie Money, Lou Gramm and Charlie Daniels. This year, Little River Band headlines the event.

Sisco cites Janet Thayer, entertainment chairwoman, as being instrumental in booking great acts.

To determine which bands would be desirable for the festival, Sisco said, “We work closely with our radio partners and we look at the demographics, and we see what the band brings to the table because we want a family venue … once we get our initial act, then we build all the other acts around it to complement that one.”

Some may say, however, that the true headliner each year is the delicious local seafood.

Food vendors chomp at the bit for a chance to showcase their own brand of regional flavor.

“It’s full by February. Everybody’s wanting to be back on the list early, and we usually have a waiting list,” said Sisco.  

To ensure a variety of culinary offerings, the festival board reviews applicants’ menus.

“What we try to do is have a good mix, with at least 60 percent seafood,” Sisco explained. “Each vendor submits their menus and then that’s the menu they have to stick with … that way you don’t have 15 people doing Lowcountry boil and each one of them has a chance to profit on what they’re selling.”

The Seafood Festival would not be possible without the help and hard work of many.

“We have a very strong committee,” he said. “It’s made up of over 20 individuals that are very good at what they do-- all volunteers-- and I would put our committee and the way we work together up against any Fortune 500 company.”

Sisco also lauded the City of Richmond Hill and the Richmond Hill - Bryan County Chamber of Commerce for their help and hard work in making the festival a success.

“It’s just good family fun,” Sisco said of the Seafood Festival.

For a detailed schedule of events, please visit or see insert in the Midweei Bryan County News.  

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